November 8, 2021
by Katie, Hy-Vee Dietitian

It's All About Balance

The holidays are a fun time of year and they often bring some of our favorite foods! Cookies, candies, cakes, pies, gingerbread houses, hot cocoa, and more! While these foods shouldn’t be the only things we eat this time of year, it is absolutely okay to enjoy these foods in a healthy diet. Want to know how? It’s all about balance!

The usual holiday foods (cookies, candies, hot cocoa, etc.) are typically going to have more added sugar and less nutrients than some of our more common foods (fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein). When we consume too much added sugar our energy stores get used up quickly! This means we lack energy, can be irritable with our siblings or parents, we may not sleep as well, and we can suffer from headaches. 

Use these three steps to incorporate sweet treats into a healthy diet this holiday season!

  1. When we enjoy our holiday favorites it’s best to pair them with another food group! For example, if you are enjoying cookies have them with milk (dairy). If you have some candy after dinner pair them with a handful of almonds or peanuts (protein). If you are consuming hot cocoa enjoy some cherries or strawberries (fruit) with it. Plus, it is always a good idea to drink plenty of water with your meals and snacks to stay properly hydrated!
  1. Another important tip is to watch the amount of treats you eat! We have all eaten too much and a had an upset stomach, so to prevent that, just enjoy a treat or two and know that you can eat them again tomorrow! Sometimes we get excited around our favorite foods and we eat very quickly. This doesn’t give our body a chance to let us know that it is full. So, slow down and really savor those foods you love so much. That way your body can give you the heads up that your stomach is full and you can save the rest for another day!
  1. Lastly, make sure you continue to incorporate fun movement in your routine! Go sledding with your neighbors, build a snowman in your front yard, dance to your favorite holiday music, or give our KidsFit Healthy Hibernation, Abdominal Snowman, or 12 Days of Holiday Fun a try!

Most importantly, remember to enjoy the holidays with people you love! Food provides us with fuel, but it also helps us to make some of our favorite memories! Enjoy baking treats with your grandma, or gathering around the table with family members you maybe haven’t seen in a while, or setting out cookies for Santa – just remember to balance your treats so you feel your best this holiday season!

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