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Winter Wellness: How To Eat Healthy Through The Holidays

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Cozy comfort foods are a hallmark of late fall and early winter. Hearty stews, gravy-covered potatoes and freshly baked rolls on the dinner table make the frigid temperatures and harsh weather bearable. But from a nutritional standpoint, these heavier foods are not meant to be eaten on a daily basis, and the proof may well be in the Christmas pudding: research published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that participants reported an average weight gain of nearly a pound between September and March. While this may seem manageable, the study also found that participants struggled to lose this weight during the rest of the year, suggesting that a slow and steady adulthood weight gain could be partially due to winter overindulgence. Tempting though holiday treats may be, it seems as though it may be best to supplement your seasonal favorites with plenty of vegetables or to opt for lighter versions of your family’s traditional recipes.

Everything in Moderation

If you are wondering whether you have the willpower to resist the inevitable plates of holiday sweets, consider that you may not need to say no to everything. Studies show that long-term health and weight management are better accomplished by lifestyle changes than by following a strict diet. Denying yourself foods that you enjoy may work in the short term, but it is more important that you make healthy decisions that you can sustain for life. Instead of pining over your favorite pie, have a smaller slice and avoid a second helping. When you fill your plate, be particularly conscious of your portions of red meats and starchy sides. You can be even more careful by familiarizing yourself with recommended serving sizes — this can help keep you from overestimating what a “moderate” amount actually is.

‘Tis the Season

Fall and winter greens and vegetables are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. Vitamin-packed and mineral-rich, dark, leafy greens like chard and kale; vitamin-packed squashes and sweet potatoes; and mineral-rich Brussels sprouts and broccoli are all in season from September through March. These vegetables can be sauteed, roasted and pureed to your liking — add them to salads, soups or casseroles or turn them into their own side dish for a more colorful holiday spread. These healthy options are also a great way to limit consumption of less nutritious choices. Help yourself to greens and vegetables first — there will be less room on your plate and in your stomach for richer fare.

Do Try This at Home

Home-cooked meals may have a reputation for being on the heavier side, but you can use a do-it-yourself approach to your advantage. When you cook or bake at home, you can choose your own ingredients and alter or adapt recipes to cut out extra fats and sugars. Not only will you be cutting out mysterious additives and preservatives, there are a variety of ways to make healthier culinary substitutions — try swapping butter for olive oil, honey or agave nectar for sugar and whole wheat flour for white. When it comes to less sensitive recipes like soups or stuffing, feel free to get creative — use more vegetables, leave out extras like bacon or cheese or use herbs as seasoning instead of salt.

Prioritizing your health during the holiday season is a challenge we face every winter, but this year you can keep your diet in check by following our simple tips. At Banff Plastic Surgery, we want you to love your body enough to take good care of it year-round. If you need extra motivation, consider scheduling an appointment for CoolSculpting or liposuction before the holidays set in — a confidence boost from a simple procedure can make you less willing to compromise your silhouette in the coming months. For more information, contact Banff Plastic Surgery today at 403-762-2055 to schedule a consultation.