How To Make It Happen?

While the National Institutes of Health says in its website that only 30 percent of Americans regularly follow a healthful eating pattern, that number is actually up to 50 percent depending on where they live. Here are 13 tips to help you become a self-made health food lover this holiday season.

Most people take their food for granted, but in addition to getting enough sleep, paying attention to their eating and getting physically fit, you have to also take care of your mental health first. When you think about the things you have control over in life, making food a priority is at the top of the list. Food represents everything that you can control and a meal can make any day and mood feel better in more ways than one. A healthy, balanced meal gives balance and helps to bring you energy and keeps you feeling confident.

There’s a lot of talk about eating out this holiday season – so let’s just say it’s a busy time of year. What if instead of relying on food, we could take the pressure off our plate?

In addition to offering you a new idea to try this holiday season, we’ve also put together a dozen tips to help you make more healthy food choices every holiday season. They are organized into six “buckets,” each one representing an aspect of eating and the advice provided there. By doing so, you can make simple changes to your holiday meal planning and get on the fast track to a healthier place on the food chain. To make it fast, you only need to know about these 12 simple tips!

1. Know the difference between a meal and a snack (or quick meal).

Meal is defined as, “a meal prepared by the kitchen that is eaten at a fixed time.” Snack is defined as, “naturally occurring unprocessed food that can be eaten quickly and is easy to gather and store.” So a meal contains all the nutrients needed for our bodies to function, while a quick meal is more than just a snack.

2. Don’t go overboard on the salt.

A diet based solely on whole food like broccoli and salad greens will be just fine – there’s no need to feel the need to pack in more than you absolutely have to. It’s ok to eat a little of the good stuff for variety, but if you add a ton of salt it will overwhelm certain vitamins and minerals and make you feel poorly in the short term (unless you are eating well) and worse in the longer term.

3. Choose meals based on flavor and not calories.

The most important things to remember when eating are the taste and the nutrition. For example, it’s fine to eat a small amount of broccoli and raw carrots in your meals to be healthy and delicious, but eating too much of one will not provide the necessary nutrients to your body and will just leave you feeling gross.

4. Don’t be afraid to eat plain breads and cereals.

If you are eating one of the most popular Christmas foods – cake – then a healthy diet should already be in place and it may not be a good idea to try anything else. Many people, however, can adapt to the idea of eating plain foods.

5. Choose whole foods, not processed foods.

This one is easy to overlook. What are those things you can buy at the supermarket that can actually change your eating habits? It’s all about the balance in your diet. There isn’t one way to do it all, or even one way to eat a particular food. Eating good quality whole foods is so valuable at holiday season even if it’s just a few items. Choosing the freshest, most nutritious and most filling foods available will be all that you need.

6. Don’t drink. Just. It.

As I mentioned, Christmas is a busy time of year, so don’t feel the need to “force yourself” into drinking. In addition to being unhealthy, all alcoholic beverages make you fat.