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Holiday Eating, A More Thoughtful Approach by Dr. Julie Monica

Not only is the Holiday or “Eating” season about to unfold, but it arrives encumbered with many added changes and stresses this year. More time spent in our homes is a lifestyle change many of us share. This combination of more home time during the holidays equals more time to cook, bake and honor all those past traditions. And guess what? It feels good. But let’s give this some thought! Of course, food has always been a part of celebrating, but maybe we need to make smarter choices with our food intake to support a healthier foundation as everything else is changing.

There has been a lot of buzz about “The Covid-15” which is weight gain many have experienced resulting from less exercise and more food intake during the pandemic. With our next primetime for added pounds just around the corner, it is especially important to adopt some better eating habits now.

We need to understand some guidelines and create some hard and fast habits to get us through this. With that said, we may choose to morph and improve certain traditions in these times. Instead of more holiday cooking keep it more functional. Focus on alternate family interactions including fun inside and outside.

At the end of the holidays it could be so detrimental to our mental health to have added even more pounds or gained back the weight just lost during the summer months. Many also claim that fatigue and even depression dampens their season as well. These things are so common and widespread but are somewhat avoidable.

Our physical health should also be a focus for the season, especially now! We need to continue to keep our immune system and metabolic health (blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference) in check. Starting with a mindful, pragmatic approach in the way of defining where and when we eat those holiday meals is a powerful start.

Most of us really just have a few celebratory gatherings. Targeting those meals and not allowing ourselves to eat “through” the entire holiday goes a long way. Being consistent with our current, health positive, food and vitamin intake will also create balance, but takes some daily effort.

More things to keep in mind –

- The day of any party we want to eat our other, regular, healthful meals and supplements - only.

- Start out eating or anchor your meal with protein and veggies and then add your holiday food. And that can even be sweets which have less impact on blood sugar eaten (and digested) with a meal.

- Don’t stuff! - It is over as any other meal ends. Don’t keep eating.

- “Bring a Dish” if you always baked and brought the cupcakes, consider change, opt to bring your new, healthy creation. Lower carbohydrates are paramount.

- Choose calorie-free drinks like water, teas and mineral water instead of festive drinks and sodas.

- Continue your work outs and on schedule! – So important for your continuous, metabolic balance.

- Keep alcohol to a minimum. At this time when we have so many added obligations and demands – even that to keep ourselves healthy, we need our energy – why zap it?

- Avoid the candy and cookies and even holiday liquor offered almost everywhere you go and shop.

- Follow these tips and achieve better sleep.

As much as these food and nutrition tips address our physical health, the impact on energy and mood is very significant and is primarily what drives our ability, our mental attitude, to keep motivated and energized to make these better, consistent choices. This holiday season celebrate your and your family’s’ health.

In her Private Practice in Sea Girt, NJ Dr. Monica counsels individuals with guided plans specializing in optimizing metabolic health with clinical, nutritional approaches. Call 732.812.5187 for more information or to schedule an appointment, or visit


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