Don’t let the stress and the sweets of the season sneak up on you.  A little prep in advance will go a long way in avoiding holiday weight gain.  Here are my top tips:

1. Start the day off right

After sleep your body is full of toxins and low on fuel. Start the morning with a tall glass of water to stimulate your detox pathways and increase your metabolism. Then make yourself a healthy smoothie. Giving your body the nutrition it craves right away will help you feel better and help you avoid over-indulging on bad foods.

2. Take advantage of “nutritionally dense” holiday foods

Usually when we think of holiday food we don’t think healthy. Many do not realize that you can make great tasting and nutritious holiday meals! Take the dish that you crave and love the most during the holidays and reconfigure it to be healthier but still as tasty. Fortunately, many holiday food staples can supply our bodies with a multitude of health-enhancing nutrients and become everyday nutritional staples. So during this holiday season, be sure to include these health enhancing foods: (Source Active.com)

• Pumpkin: You can eat that scrumptious pumpkin pie without all the guilt! Pumpkin is an excellent source of beta-carotene, which is converted to resistance-building vitamin A. Pumpkin is also a wonderful source of iron, a mineral essential for transporting oxygen to our working cells.

• Cranberries: The cranberry’s plant pigment that provides color to our holiday plate also provides a number of compounds that have shown early promise against cancer and heart disease. The ellagic acid in cranberries has been shown to help prevent tumor growth by disarming cancer-causing agents. In addition, cranberries contain two powerful flavonoids–quercetin and myricetin–that have been shown to prevent damage to blood vessel linings.

• Turkey: Since the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving feast, turkey has been a staple protein source. Turkey also provides significant sources of B-vitamins, selenium and zinc, nutrients essential for optimal nerve and immune function.

• Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes provide over 100 percent of our daily needs for beta-carotene. It also provides more than a quarter of our daily needs for vitamins C and E–nutrients that have been shown to help protect cell damage.

• Chestnuts – “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” provide quite the nutritional punch. Chestnuts contain less than one gram of fat per ounce, while providing a hefty dose of fiber, vitamin C, and folic acid; nutrients important for immune function, formation of collagen and reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Chestnuts are good in stuffing, pilaf, vegetable side dishes and soups. They’re also excellent snacks by themselves.

3. Know the law of diminishing returns

Doesn’t the first bite always taste the best? When looking at brain chemicals signaling “pleasure,” scientists have found that we receive less pleasure the more we eat of a food. So rather than feeling like you must eat a full serving of every dessert at a holiday meal, take a bite or two and receive 90 percent of the pleasure at 10 percent of the calories. (Active.com)

4. Homemade Holiday Foods made healthy

With some help and the right ingredients that holiday dish you crave the most can be made healthy! And it may even taste better than the original. Make your dish satisfying without the added sugars, bad fats, and toxicity. In fact, not only will your new creation be satisfying, it will be good for your body and you’ll feel amazing. No more holiday binge-eating coma!

For easy healthy recipes and holiday eating tips go to: healingcuisinebyelise.com