Do you teeter between counting down the days until your holiday feast and dreading the seemingly inevitable food coma to follow? It can be tough to practice moderation around the holidays and many people pay for holiday indulgences by carrying around extra pounds. Try to keep a couple of tips in mind to curb your holiday hunger while allowing yourself to enjoy all the favorites.
Beat the Beverages
Many people only think about calories when it comes to food. Beverages can be very calorie-dense as well and often offer little nutritional value. Some holiday drinks are full of hidden sugar, fat and calories. Here are a couple ways to cut back:
Try mixing ½ a glass of skim or low-fat milk with ½ a glass of eggnog
Passing on the alcohol also means passing on extra calories
Opt for low-fat or skim milk instead of whole milk.
Pass on the whipped cream or keep it to 1 tablespoon or less
Check for added sugars—make sure you’re drinking 100% juice
Know Your Meal
This doesn’t just mean know the dish, but know the ingredients. Being aware of common sources of fat, sodium, and extra calories can help you make the best choices at the holiday table.
Be aware of Sodium
Many holiday favorites like breads, rolls, canned stocks, soups, and sauces are very high in sodium. Use herbs and spices like rosemary and cloves instead of salt and butter. When you can, choose to use fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned—these have added sodium too.
When it comes to turkey…
Choose lighter pieces of meat, as they have fewer calories than dark meat.
Remove the skin from your meat.
Remember portions—a serving of meat is 3 oz. or about the size of a deck of cards
Gravy is dangerous when it comes to fat, calories, and sodium. If you choose to use some, keep it to 1 tablespoon and use it for turkey only.
Don’t Destroy Dessert
When it comes to sweet treats, try to sample rather than making a second meal out of pie and cookies. These treats are sure to be packed with sugar and fat and that’s after the meal! Consider sharing a serving with a buddy or asking for a smaller slice.
Healthy Eating Starts with Healthier Cooking
Try some tricky culinary maneuvers to reduce the fat, sugar, and sodium in your holiday dishes. Your guests will never notice, but they sure will thank you later!
Try substituting ½ the butter for applesauce.
Use low-fat or skim milk instead of whole milk or heavy cream
Substitute ½ the white flour for whole wheat
When cooking, opt for vegetable oils instead of butter
Use whole-grain breads, pastas and stuffing instead of white
Compare labels to make lower-sodium choices
Use spices to ease up on salt and sugar. Consider things like cinnamon, cloves, vanilla; rosemary, thyme, garlic.
Finally—Remember to stay active
Go for a walk. Try sledding again. Ice skate…tis the season!