With Thanksgiving this week, the holidays are officially upon us! But between the parties, the sweet treats and the stress of a super-long to-do list, it can be tough to stick to a nutritious eating plan. Here, we’ve put together a few tips to incorporate into your everyday routine to help you stay on track—and stay as healthy as possible this holiday season.
Eat a Rainbow of Color
Research suggests that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that may help protect you from chronic diseases.
People who eat more generous amounts of dark red, green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. The more intense the color, the more nutritious!
Know that All Fats Are Not Created Equal
Saturated fats and trans fats are associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products and are hard at room temperature. Trans fats are developed during the process of hydrogenation and may be used in peanut butter, baked goods and cakes.
Research shows that most of our fat intake should come from unsaturated fats including monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega 3 fatty acids. People choosing diets rich in these fats typically have lower rates of heart disease. As part of a healthy diet, choose foods such as olive oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and fatty fish and limit high fat meat, cheese and whole fat dairy products as well foods made from hydrogenated oils.
Be Sodium Savvy
High sodium (salt) foods can increase your risk of hypertension and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. Processed foods make up 77 percent of added salt in our diet and include canned foods, snack foods, fast foods, packaged and prepared foods, cereals, frozen deli meats, cured meats, cheeses, condiments, sauces, pickles, olives and any seasoning that says “salt” on it. For big flavor, use herbs and spices when cooking instead of salt!
-- Patricia Coar, MPH, RD, CDE, CDN, Sodexo Dietitian at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital