Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

You can enjoy the holiday festivities while still following a healthy diet in pregnancy.

As the Festive Season rolls around, it becomes so easy to overindulge as you celebrate the end of a successful year with colleagues, friends and family. Many of the traditions around this time of the year focus around food and drink. Holiday foods can be loaded with calories but be devoid of the good nutrients your growing baby needs.

Healthy holidays

How can you eat healthily, avoid excess weight gain and make sure that baby gets the right nutrition – without feeling like you have to deprive yourself of everything tasty? With a few tweaks to your holiday menu, you can still enjoy this magical season.

Think Drink

Alcohol can hide in punch and eggnog, both festive traditional drinks. Double check with the host. Switch to sparking grape juice for toasts or enjoy a cold mocktail. Don’t worry about the alcohol in mince pies, fruit cake and Christmas pudding as most of it evaporates during the cooking process. Avoid cakes where the brandy is added after the cake is baked.

Have A Hearty Breakfast

Don’t skip breakfast with the idea to ‘save’ calories for later. A good breakfast will sustain your energy through the early part of the day, so you’ll be less likely to snack on high-calorie junk foods when you are suddenly starving. Opt for a balanced meal with protein, good fat and carbohydrates – like toast, with scrambled eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms or oats topped with nuts and strawberries. You can also boost your nutrient intake with a breakfast smoothie. Blend almond milk with leafy greens, like spinach, avocado pear or cucumber and add seeds or nuts to supercharge your day.

Keep Hydrated

With the increase in summer temperatures, keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Keep a bottle of water with you or use a carafe on your desk at work. Make a jug of iced tea and keep it in the fridge for a delicious and refreshing drink at home.

Snack Smartly

Many of the traditional holiday snack foods have loads of empty calories. Swap these for healthy options most of the time and you can still enjoy the occasional indulgence. Consider nuts, dried fruit, raisins, berries and fresh fruit. Raisins aid in digestion and are a good source of vitamin C and iron. 

Plan Ahead

Whether you are going to an office party, over to family or on a road trip, it pays to think ahead. Pack a small snack pack for yourself and include healthy snack options, juice and water. If you are feeling peckish, you’ll have something healthy on hand to eat.

Time Those Treats

You don’t have to deprive yourself all the time – just be conscious of your diet and make choices on what to eat and when. For example, if you want to have chocolate pudding or a bowl of ice-cream after dinner, have a light lunch, like fruit salad and a yogurt, or drop the carbohydrate (rice, potato or pasta) for a salad at dinner.

Navigate the Buffet

Many end-of-the year office and Christmas parties are centred around a full buffet. Although the buffet gets a bad rap, it is positive in that you can choose exactly what you want to eat and how much. Choose lean cuts of meat for protein and salads, great when the summer temperatures are soaring. Turkey is a popular Christmas meat and great for good nutrition – it’s lean and rich in protein.

TOP TIP: Avoid patés, uncooked meat products, undercooked meat or anything that contains raw egg. There is a risk that these foods may contain salmonella, a bacterium that causes food poisoning and listeria, the bacteria that causes listeriosis. Raw egg can be found in eggnog, some mousses and custards. Royal icing on traditional Christmas cakes may contain raw egg whites, so ask if you’re unsure or remove it.

Don’t Eat Too Late

Your growing uterus pushes up on the stomach and may expel some of the stomach contents into the oesophagus. This can cause the unpleasant discomfort and burning of heartburn, usually felt in the throat or chest. Opt for smaller meals through the day rather than a large meal that fills your stomach. Also, don’t eat dinner too late, especially if you are struggling with indigestion or heartburn. Aim for at least three hours before you go to bed.

In bed, prop yourself up with pillows to help prevent stomach acids from pushing upwards. Rich, spicy meals, carbonated and citrus drinks can make heartburn worse, so avoid them if you struggle with this common pregnancy problem.

Resources: www.nct.org.uk; www.motherandbaby.co.uk; www.parents.com; www.babycentre.co.uk; www.babycenter.com

Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash

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