As we begin the holiday season, so too do we begin the start of all our favorite yummy, cozy, tasty treats that we all love and sometimes wait all season to enjoy. But, this is also a time where we can get off track with our goals of making healthier food choices. This is all the more difficult when access to healthier foods is a struggle. Here are some tips for how you can have a heart-healthier holiday season – and help ensure others have a good shot at one too.
One of the easiest ways to be mindful of healthier food choices is to think in moderation. The holidays bring so many different types of treats. From Aunt Barb’s scalloped potatoes to your cousin’s famous pecan pie, there can be lots of tastes you want to try. By thinking about the amount of food you are having, you can reduce the impact of all the great foods you are savoring. Tracking the food you eat can be helpful, but if not, then maybe just take half of what you want and see if you want more later. Give yourself time to enjoy these foods – you’ve waited all year to have them!
In this season of giving, we also want to think about others and how we can care for them and love them. This can start in your very own kitchen. Think about easy swaps you can do like using ground turkey instead of ground pork in your appetizer recipe. Make sure there are a few healthy options on the table like a bowl of roast carrots or a no sugar added dessert. Try a simple, no-sugar-added applesauce everyone will love. Finally, when you give to food drives, consider what you’re donating. Is it low sugar, low sodium staples, or are there many foods you think are a less healthy choice for your family? Families who use food pantries often have a lack of access to healthier foods so helping them get that access can be an important step in supporting the health of our neighbors.
Access to nutrition is a real issue for people living in all types of communities. Some people don’t have the financial means to eat a healthier diet while others might have the means but live in an area where there are no healthier food options or access to quality grocery stores to be able to eat a heart-healthier diet. This holiday season, many people will struggle to access nutritious food to put on their table, not only for Thanksgiving but all year through. This is why we need your support of policies that help provide access to healthier foods so families in your community can have a happy and healthier Thanksgiving…and for all the other days to come.