The holiday season usually calls for family gatherings, sports, tons of food, laughs, and even a few tears. We spend hours trying to make every holiday feel even better than the last. All of the stress spent preparing dishes, decorating, and buying gifts eventually pays off. This year, our holidays may look a little different.
Those large family gatherings may be scaled back to immediate family members and those large servings of food may be reduced to essential dishes. Hopefully, there will still be holiday laughs.
The coronavirus, or COVID-19, has continued to rise in numbers, despite all safety precautions. Many families are still facing financial difficulties due to loss of jobs and shortages of hours. Many may wonder, how will this affect the holiday season? Will we still be able to celebrate Thanksgiving or even Christmas? While some have vowed to get COVID-19 screenings before the holidays, others remain hesitant to move forward with gatherings.
For your safety and your health, Geriatric and Culinary Medicine Specialist, Sarita Golikeri, MD, ABOM, CCMS, of TPMG Williamsburg Geriatrics and Lifestyle Medicine is providing you tips to having a healthy, cost-efficient, and safe holiday season.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were drastic shortages of food and other essential items. Instead of waiting until the last minute to grocery shop for the holidays, consider getting creative and working with what you already have in your kitchen. It’s time to think outside of the box. “How many people look in their pantries and put together meals,” Dr. Golikeri asked. There may not be many, but one thing is for certain: this will help families with financial difficulties save money. If your pantry isn’t looking as good as you hoped, plan ahead by buying in bulk when food is relatively cheaper. Consider buying seasonal things as well, including Brussels sprouts, gourds, and pumpkin. Items that aren’t in season will ultimately be more expensive. For those who are choosing the safer route by scaling back on family gatherings, prepare smaller portions. Individual turkey breasts will feed a small gathering instead a whole turkey needed to feed a large group.
The goal this year is for you to have a healthy holiday. Many of our holiday meals are absolutely delicious, but are they healthy for us? Although many people look to meats for protein, vegetables are a significant source. Swap out some of those fatty foods for healthy veggies, such as cauliflower and black beans. This year, try out a pumpkin soup, a pumpkin risotto, or a roasted chicken lentil. These healthy proteins are actually more affordable. A balanced diet, along with exercise, could possibly restore your health and save you money on doctor bills and hospital visits later. “Proper weight management can reduce the risk of almost all chronic conditions,” Dr. Golikeri said. Keep that in mind as you move forward with the holiday season. Although the holidays may look a little different, remember to stay safe, eat healthy, and practice your holiday traditions.
About Sarita Golikeri, MD, ABOM, CCMS
Certified Geriatric and Culinary Medicine Specialist, Sarita Golikeri, MD, ABOM, CCMS, seeks to prevent and manage chronic disease and promote healthy lifestyles through cooking. Her primary focus is weight management and nutrition. Dr. Golikeri treats patients for diabetes, hypertension, dementia, high cholesterol, asthma, and obesity. She believes it’s better to prevent problems than to treat them. Dr. Golikeri joined TPMG Colonial Family Medicine in 2014 and opened her own practice, TPMG Williamsburg Geriatrics and Lifestyle Medicine in 2019.