Tis The Season

With October around the corner and the holiday season (or should I say “food frenzy”) upon us, it can be difficult to stay healthy. We know the deal—candy corn, pumpkin pie, turkey with extra gravy, and yes, those tempting Christmas cookies! Oh and don’t forget that second glass of wine? Isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Yes and NO!!!

Yes, with holidays and celebrations comes food and drink. However, it shouldn’t be our main focus over the next few months. So…how do we shift our focus with parties, holiday luncheons, after-work celebratory drinks (just one!), co-workers and clients bringing in baked goods, and let’s not forget the bottles of wine and spirits?? It may sound cliché but the holidays are about spending time with family and friends. It’s about dressing our children for trick or treat, not eating their candy! It’s enjoying the day off on Thanksgiving and spending time with our family, relaxing after a good meal, and not passing out after our second or third helping of stuffing! And if we are lucky enough to have a white Christmas, it’s all about enjoying a beautiful Christmas morning while we are blessed to give and receive.

Follow the ten tips listed below and just maybe we won’t be receiving extra pounds this holiday season!!

Ten Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

  1. Maintain: Now is NOT the time to go on a “diet”. Make it your goal to get through the holiday season without a weight gain.
  2. Exercise: This is NOT the time to skip a workout. Not only will you feel better on those occasions when you do indulge, you can partially offset the extra calories.
  3. Eat: Eating well balanced small snacks and meals throughout the day will keep you from over indulging when you hit the party circuit!
  4. Be Picky: Just because there is a buffet you do not have to eat everything!! Choose veggies and protein. Avoid the crackers, chips, and dessert.
  5. Pick Your Poison: If you feel the need to have that one “off-limits treat”, have it! But have ONE! Don’t let it set you up for eating everything in sight!
  6. Slow down: Eat slowly and enjoy your surroundings. Mingle and talk! It’s hard to have a conversation with a mouth full of food!
  7. Drink: WATER! Alternate water with alcohol. When we drink too much, we eat too much, amongst other things!
  8. Plan: If you overeat at one meal go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above your normal maintenance consumption to gain one pound. It is impossible to gain weight from one piece of pie.
  9. Distract yourself: There are a million other things you can do besides eating! Take your focus off of food. Shopping, decorating, wrapping, and donating your time to help others will keep you busy.
  10. BYOD: Bring Your Own Dish to the party! When gathering with friends, bring something you know you can eat and enjoy without the guilt! While you’re at it, take a holiday favorite and recreate it by making a healthier version!

Check out the following ideas to cut the calories on some of your holiday favorites:

  • Gravy — Refrigerate the gravy to harden fat. Skim the fat off. This will save a whopping 56 gm of fat per cup.
  • Dressing — Use a little less bread and add more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables. Add fruits such as cranberries or apples. Moisten or flavor with low-fat low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and applesauce.
  • Turkey – Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.
  • Green Bean Casserole — Cook fresh green beans with chunks of potatoes instead of cream soup. Top with almonds instead of fried onion rings.
  • Mashed Potato — Use skim milk, chicken broth, garlic or garlic powder, and parmesan cheese instead of whole milk and butter.
  • Quick Holiday Nog — Four bananas, 1-1/2 cups skim milk or soymilk, 1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon rum extract, and ground nutmeg. Blend all ingredients except nutmeg. Puree until smooth. Top with nutmeg.
  • Desserts — Make a crustless pumpkin pie. Substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in baked recipes. Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk in cheesecakes and cream pies. Top cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of fattening frosting.

Make this holiday about friends and family! Enjoy the festivities without the weight gain and you won’t be starting off the New Year with the latest “diet book”!

Let the holiday games begin!