Eating Healthy During the Holidays

Holidays are a great time full of family and friends, time off work, and delicious food, but with that comes a lot of temptations. Thanksgiving in particular is a holiday associated around eating, which causes a lot of us the need to unbutton our pants a little when it’s all said and done. However, you can eat healthy during the holidays, if you work to make it a priority.

  • Be Realistic! Don’t have the goal to lose weight over Thanksgiving, if you plan on having multiple family dinners.
  • Plan Time for Exercise. Go on a hike with your family, run a Turkey Trot, or play football before the big game.
  • Don’t Skip Meals or Snacks. Skipping meals to make room may sound like a great idea, but you are actually just going to be more hungry and eat more later.
  • Survey the food before you indulge.
    •  Choose:
      • Turkey breast
      • Chicken breast
      • Plain potatoes
      • Tossed salad
      • Steamed veggies
      • Fresh fruit
      • Plain rice
    • Try to Avoid:
      • Prime Rib
      • Turkey skin
      • Pie
      • Gravy
      • Bread Pudding
      • Candy
      • Eggnog
      • Cake
      • Stuffing
      • Sweetened Beverages
      • Highly Calorie Alcoholic Beverages
  • Eat until you are satisfied not stuffed. Know your limit and stick to it.
  • Drink water. Skip the high calorie drinks and keep hydrated with water to lessen your hunger without putting an impact on your daily calories.
  • Offer to bring a healthy dish! Your host will most likely be glad to have one less dish to cook and then you are guaranteed one more healthy choice to eat.
  • Eat small portions.
  • Pace yourself when you eat.
  • Moderate your nibbles throughout the day. Avoid sampling and indulging in your food as you cook. Calories from having random bites of the food throughout the day can add up to well over 500 calories.
  • If you overeat at one meal, go light on the next.
  • Don’t plan all group activities around food. Suggest other things for your family and friends to do other than eating, such as: playing a game, going for a walk, or watching a parade.
  • Modify family recipes to make them healthier.
    • Sour Cream:
      • Replace with non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
    • Stuffing:
      • Use low-sodium broth
      • Replace some of the breading with more veggies and fruit
    • Turkey:
      • Don’t eat the skin
    • Green Bean Casserole:
      • Use green beans and chucks of potatoes, instead of cream soup
      • Top it with almonds, instead of fried onion rings
    • Mashed Potatoes:
      • Use skim milk, instead of whole
    • Eggnog:
      • 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 it crustless
      • 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 frosting
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