A Healthy Holiday Low-Down

Dr. Cindy Haines Health Guide
  • I had a lot of fun on a TwitterChat this month that was focused on Healthy Holidays. One tweet submitted, although funny, just isn't true:


    "#HealthyHolidays … said no one ever."


    I am here to tell you that the chat was full of really good and really helpful info and tips on creating not just a healthy holiday, but a fun and delicious one too. Which is important - because if it's not, who is going to want to hang out with you? And you're going to end up not wanting to do it, either.


    Yes, healthy holiday tips need to be "healthy" but to be an actionable and sustainable practice, they also need to be reasonable, accessible, and inspirational. Inspirational in that people want to do it rather than feel like they have to do it.

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    Some of the best tips I gleaned from the chat:


    1. Plan ahead. Don't find yourself having gone more than 3 or 4 hours without having eaten a healthy meal or snack, composed of a complex carb, healthy fat, and lean source of protein.  Don't let yourself get hungry (or worse: hangry) - and at the mercy of whatever options are available to you.
    2. Bring a dish you control. If you are the party host, awesome. You are in the driver seat of what is available to eat and drink. But even if you are not the host, you can still bring a dish to share - and make it something you can enjoy, guilt-free.
    3. Fill up with low-cal, high-fiber choices first. If you start off your meal or snack with lower-calorie, higher-fiber options, you will most likely not even want the less healthy stuff as much - and you'll also have less room for it.
    4. Take unhealthy items and tweak them up to healthier versions (OK, this is mine!). There is no reason you can't enjoy the festive foods of the season: pumpkin pie, sweet potato casserole, sausage and/or cornbread stuffing, homemade rolls with butter, gravy on everything. Just take your favorites and tweak up the ingredients and preparation to make it a healthier version. And maybe just enjoy less of it at a time.

    And, finally, perhaps the best advice of the chat: Don't be the person at the party that everyone's talking about on Monday. Happy Thanksgiving and a happy holiday season to everyone!


    Dr. Cindy Haines is a family doctor, medical journalist, and "70.3 yogi." For even more tips on how to get better health and need the health care system less, check out: The New Prescription: How to Get the Best Health Care in a Broken System by Dr. Cynthia D. Haines, M.D. (Dr. Cindy Haines) and Eric Metcalf, M.P.H. This is a book about getting what you really want: better health on your own terms. More medical care doesn’t mean better health. Dr. Haines and Metcalf reveal some of the most egregious problems with a medical system gone awry, opening readers’ eyes to how to better navigate the changes underway. Using solid research, insiders’ insights, and patient anecdotes, they offer cost-effective and potentially life-saving ways to get more out of health care while using less of it.


Published On: November 22, 2013