Christmas Survival Guide to Teeth-Friendly Eating During the Festivities

Healthy eating for the holidays

Eating to Maintain a Healthy Smile During the Holidays

The Christmas season is here and that means eating decadent holiday spreads of delicious food and tasty drinks are on their way. The holidays only come once a year, and for many families, the meals and dishes we enjoy most during Christmas are also an annual event. Since the holidays are such a special and nostalgic time, it can be tough to try and stick with a healthy diet during the year-end.

If you want to enjoy your holidays but not go overboard with eating hearty meals and sugary sweets, here are a few helpful tips.

Look for slimmed-down versions of your favorite recipes.

The great thing about staying healthy during the holidays is that many other people have the same goal. That means it’s pretty easy to find “slimmed down” versions of traditional holiday meals that are just as tasty, but with fewer calories and sugar.

Here are a few really tasty, highly praised recipes to try out with your family this holiday season:

Visit your favorite recipe websites or hop on Pinterest to find delicious and healthy holiday side dishes. Who knows, that new healthy dish just might become your family’s new annual holiday must-have!

Be mindful of dried fruits and festive fruit juice beverages.

From fruit cake to bubbly cranberry cocktails, there’s often plenty of fruit present in desserts, snacks, and beverages. Fruit contains important vitamins and minerals, but too much fruit juice and dried fruit can be terrible for teeth. Fruit juice is high in natural sugars and acids (i.e. orange juice), and can harm tooth enamel. Similarly, dried fruit is both sweet and sticky, a combination that invites bacteria that cause tooth decay.

When you have fruit, try to enjoy it in its whole form as much as possible. If you do indulge in dried fruit, look for varieties without added sugar as the majority do have sugar added. As for juices, opt for a natural, no-sugar-added option, but keep the total amount to a glass. Diluting your favorite fruit juice with some sparkling water tastes great and can help you extend that 8 ounces of water you should be aiming for each day. 

Swap high-calorie or sugary ingredients with healthier choices.

For recipes you really love eating that you can’t quite find a slimmed-down version of, you also have the option to substitute healthier ingredients in place of less-than-ideal options.

Here are a few swaps that can help make your recipes healthier:

  • Applesauce in place of oil in baking.
  • Sugar substitute in place of sugar.
  • Eggs whites in place of whole eggs.
  • Multigrain in place of refined grains.
  • Whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour.
  • Low-fat dairy in place of whole/full-fat.
  • Whole milk in place of heavy cream.
  • Ground turkey in place of ground beef.

We do recommend doing a little investigating online before substituting large quantities of an ingredient for another. Baking can be sensitive and changing ingredients may also change the final product. It’s never a bad idea to do a small test batch before the holidays to be sure!

Compromise heavy dinners with healthy snacks and light lunches.

Big Christmas feasts and festive holiday dinners with family are an important part of the season for many families. Trying to completely avoid eating these social meals can really put a damper on your holiday spirit, especially since the last two years have been pretty tough for many of us. A great way to indulge a bit while still prioritizing your health is to make compromises in other areas of your diet.

For example, if you have a big dinner coming up and you know you’re going to go all out, take action now by being mindful of what you’re snacking on or eating for breakfast and lunch. By watching your calorie and sugar intake on these meals or snacks, you’ll be able to enjoy those big dinners without any guilt or worry.

Don’t forget to follow your at-home dental care routine.

Paying a little extra attention to your dental care routine will go a long way in making sure those extra holiday treats don’t cause problems for your teeth.

Here’s a holiday refresher on the basics of a clean, healthy smile:

  • Brush at least twice a day, ideally after meals.
  • Brush for a full two minutes.
  • Floss at least once daily, ideally before bed.
  • Remember: Floss > Scrape Tongue > Brush > Mouthwash.
  • Always brush before going to bed.
  • See your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.

By the way, you can give yourself and your family the gift of a healthy smile this year by joining The Tooth Doc Membership Club. For more information, click here!

The Tooth Doc Team can help you prepare your smile for the holidays.

Whether you’re in need of a little pre-holiday cleaning or you want to welcome the New Year with a brighter and whiter smile, The Tooth Doc has your needs covered! Give our Omaha, NE, office a call, or use our online form to schedule your next appointment or consultation.