Healthful Holiday Tips

Holidays are a time to celebrate with loved ones and delicious foods are usually part of the festivities!
Here are some tips to remember this season when encountering so many yummy foods!

  1. Remember it is ok to enjoy these foods and celebrate all the flavors of the season. Try not to feel guilty for indulging in a few of your favorites. Studies show that associating a food with guilt instead of celebration can have a negative affect on our weight. So enjoy!
  2. Just because you eat a lot at a meal or at a party, doesn’t mean the rest of the day or the rest of the week has to go down with it! Try to eat better or a little less for the rest of the meals. Unless you are the most popular person in the world, and have a party or event every meal for the entire month, I’m sure you will be fine!
  3. Plan time for exercise. Going for brisk 10-15 minute walk after meals is a great way to prevent weight gain over the holidays. It also helps relieve holiday stress.
  4. Eat until you are satisfied, not Stuffed. Savor your favorite treats while eating small portions. Take your time eating and you will find you can be full on less food.
  5. Don’t let the food go to “waist.” Remember it is OK not to finish everything on your plate. Leave it behind, it is better to go in the waste basket rather than your waist!
  6. Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering. Healthy options always have a place at the holiday table!
  7. Don’t skip meals and try having a light snack before a party or large meal. You will curb your appetite and not be tempted to over-indulge.
  8. Watch your beverages. Water is best so you can spend you calories on the food.
  9. Focus on family and friends. While food is definitely part of the celebration, it is not the only reason for the gathering. Plan group activities and games that are not all about the food and enjoy good company!
  10. Try making substitutions to some of your favorite dishes to save calories without sacrificing taste!

Some substitution and modification ideas:

Turkey: Enjoy without the skin to save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.

Gravy: Refrigerate gravy to harden fat. Skim off fat before heating and serving to save a whopping 56 grams of fat per cup!

Dressing: use a little less bread and more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables.

Casseroles: Swap out lower fat cheese, milk, and sour cream in place of full cream and full fat products.

Desserts: Replace heavy cream with evaporated milk in desserts to cut calories. Or try making a crustless pumpkin pie.

Potatoes: Use ½ the amount of butter and more seasoning like garlic or parmesan to flavor those taters!

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By: Lori Boyd, MS, RDN, LD – Registered Dietitian