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Holidays are traditionally about comfort foods such as roast turkey, glazed ham, savory stuffing, and pumpkin pie enjoyed in the presence of family and loved ones. This year, many of us may be enjoying smaller meals with just our immediate family members. Whether you’re feeding a few or a lot, there’s no need to turn holiday get-togethers into calorie fests that put your teeth at risk in the process. Fortunately, you can dress up your holiday dinner table in all kinds of delicious ways that are as easy on your oral health as they are on your waistline. Here are a few suggestions:
- Do the research. Go online to find plenty of nutritionist-approved tips for eating healthy during the holidays. Just be sure that you stick to reputable sites and not necessarily things you saw on social media.
- Eat the turkey. It’s packed with protein and also contains phosphorus, which is good for your teeth. Plus, what would the holidays be without it?
- Set up that cheese platter. Cheese has a low pH. What does that mean for your teeth? It has less acidity, which helps keep other foods from eating away at your enamel.
- Fill a bowl with mixed nuts. Nuts are a great snacking food. They’re filling and contain plenty of healthy fats, not to mention calcium, magnesium, and iron. Plus, eating nuts helps to stimulate saliva, which is your mouth’s first line of defense.
- Go big on seasonal fruits and vegetables. There are so many colorful fruits and veggies in season right now, from butternut squash and kale to fresh cranberries. Try fill half of your plate with vegetables, and keep ’em as colorful as you can!
- Trade mashed potatoes for sweet potatoes. They’re just as delicious, and sweet potatoes come with more vitamins and other nutrients!
- Don’t skip meals to “save room” for dinner. Skipping meals throws off your body’s metabolism. That means you’ll be more likely to overeat and less able to process the calories you do ingest.
- Stay hydrated. And if you’re planning to have a seasonal cocktail, maybe just keep it to one.
- Try a crust-less pumpkin pie. The filling is the best part anyway! Without the crust you only get half the calories, which means you can save room for a little fat-free whipped cream.
- Don’t forget the protein. Higher-protein foods increase satiety, meaning that you feel more satisfied and are less likely to overeat.
- Try eating slowly. Give yourself some time before going for seconds. It actually takes a little while (20 minutes or more) for your body to tell your brain that you’re full, so savor each bite and really enjoy what you’re eating. If you want seconds later, they’ll still be there.
Whatever you’re eating this holiday season, there’s bound to be a few indulgences here and there. That’s what the holidays are for, after all. Don’t aim to stick hard to specific limits. Just try to practice moderation, and don’t forget to brush after!
While you’re at it, don’t forget to schedule a post-holiday (or between-holidays) visit to see your Overland Park dentist! Just call Watts Family Dental at (913) 338-3384, and we’ll be happy to see you!