12 Healthy Tips For The 12 Days Of Christmas

Here at Maternal & Family Health Services, we are lucky to continually have some of the best and brightest students from our local universities come in to do internships with us. Recently Elizabeth Sweeney & Alissa Murphy from Marywood University joined us and volunteered to write some guest posts for our blog. In the spirit of the holiday season, today is the first of four posts from them that will help you survive the holiday season with your waistline intact!

On the first day of Christmas, my dietitian said to me…

Start off your day with a healthy breakfast!

Just because you know you will be indulging in a lot of great food on Christmas Eve and Christmas day doesn’t mean you should skip breakfast. By eating a healthy breakfast, your body will get the energy it needs to start the day. You will need it in order to wrap all those gifts, get your kids ready, cook that family dinner, and shovel the snow on a White Christmas. Try starting your day off with a hot bowl of oatmeal, and get the whole family to share breakfast together. Add some red and green extras (cranberries, for one) to give it a festive look. Oatmeal is a great food that will keep you feeling full throughout the morning.  Try this recipe, you will love it!

Cranberry, Apple and Almond Oatmeal Delight:

  • Old Fashioned Quaker Oats (prepare according to the directions on the canister, making as many servings as you need)
  • Dried cranberries
  • Sliced apples
  • Slivered almonds
  • Prepare the oatmeal, have everyone fill their bowl with the amount of toppings that they desire, and enjoy!
On the second day of Christmas, my dietitian said to me…

Not to forget about exercise!

In all of the hustle and bustle of Christmas Eve and Christmas day, it is easy to forget about our need for physical activity. Because most gyms and activity centers will be closed, activity will have to be done at home. It is a great idea to get activity done early in the day. The activity will give you an energy boost, and exercise has been shown to be a stress reducer, both of which will be beneficial. Shoot for half an hour to an hour of physical activity. Here are some great activities that you can do right at home:

  • Shovel the sidewalk for your guests if it snows
  • Shovel the sidewalk for any of the elderly or disabled on your block
  • Build a snowman with your children
  • Take a brisk walk and enjoy the beautiful winter scenery
  • Have a snowball fight
On the third day of Christmas, my dietitian said to me…

Choose your appetizers wisely.

Appetizers are there to hold you over until dinner. Therefore, appetizers should not contain enough calories to be a whole meal themselves. Before you decide what appetizers to fill your plate with, observe the buffet to see what is offered. Decided on two or three appetizers you absolutely have to try because they look delicious, and then fill the rest of your plate with fruits and vegetables.  You are get to taste the foods you want but are still getting nutrient dense foods. Another option to help avoid calorie-laden appetizers is to bring one of your own to the party. This way you know there will be at least one option there for you to enjoy guilt free. Here is a recipe that would be great to take along to that holiday office party or family gathering:

Recipe: Low-Fat Mock Deviled Eggs

6 hard-boiled eggs

1 tsp. sugar

1 T. white vinegar

1 can (16-oz) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained

2 T. nonfat mayonnaise

2 T. yellow mustard

1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

2 T. minced green onion

1/4 tsp. ground paprika

Remove shells from eggs. Halve eggs lengthwise; remove and discard the yolks. In a small bowl, dissolve sugar in vinegar. Rinse the chickpeas and drain thoroughly. In a food processor or blender, combine chickpeas, sugar mixture, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, pepper, and onions and blend until smooth. Spoon mixture into egg whites or fill using a fluted pastry bag. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

This recipe removes 3 grams of fat and adds 6 grams of protein and 7 grams of dietary fiber compared to “real” deviled eggs.

Nutritional information:

Serving: 1/2 egg (or one deviled egg). Yield: 12 servings. Calories 151, Total fat 2 grams, Saturated fat: trace, Cholesterol: trace, Sodium: 70 mg, Carbohydrate: 24 grams, Protein: 9 grams, Dietary fiber: 7 grams.