Eating Smart this Holiday Season + 14 Holiday Recipes
It doesn’t have to be everyone’s New Years resolution to shed undesired pounds gained over the holiday season. Making healthier and smarter choices and avoiding unwarranted weight gain in the first place this holiday may be easier than you think. A few guidelines to help promote nutritional discipline and avoid excess calories include:
No need to load your plate to the size of Mt. Everest or go back for seconds because your Mom’s cooking is just that good. Make smarter decisions by focusing on portion control. Half of your plate should be of a lower calorie/higher fiber item such as a vegetable or salad. A quarter of your plate should be designated to a 3 oz. lean protein (such as chicken, turkey, fish or Tofurkey for you Vegetarians). For reference a 3 oz. serving of protein is often compared to the size of a deck of cards or your palm. Lastly only a ¼ of your plate should be designated to the more calorie rich refined carbohydrates such as stuffing, potato gratin etc. Wait approx. 10-15 minutes after finishing your plate, if you are still hungry avoid going back for seconds and remember the home cooked slice of pie is right around the corner.
Avoiding excess high fat additives in meal preparation
Many seasonal recipes often include a gratuitous amount of oil, butter, or cream in their ingredient lists. Knowing how to make lower calorie/fat substitutions will allow you to enjoy the same foods you are craving while cutting a meaningful amount of calories from your meal. It is recommended to keep the butter, gravy etc. off the table as most items are already prepared with these high calorie additives; no need to add more. If you are the one wearing the apron this holiday, know that common recipe substitutions can include: applesauce, yogurt or fruit purees in place of oil; as well as low fat/fat free milk and or yogurt in place of heavy cream.
Allowing sweets, but in moderation
How can you pass up a piece of pumpkin pie at the holidays? You can’t, that’s how! Those that avoid sweets all together often end up giving into their cravings ten-fold and eating more than they would have in the first place. A small slice of pie isn’t the end of the world; where the calories often add up are with the ice cream, whipped toppings, or the heavy hand when cutting the size of the slice. When sticking to a small portion and practicing moderation, you are able to satisfy your craving without going overboard with calories and fat.
Conscious of alcohol intake
Most alcoholic drinks provide upward of at least 100 calories or more per serving. Socializing and catching up with family warrants for a celebration and a drink don’t get me wrong; however keep in mind the calories add up very quickly. Men should have no more than 2 servings alcohol/day and women no more than 1. A serving is equivalent to a 12 oz. beer or 5 oz. glass of wine.
If you are able to write out a menu and or assist your family in picking out recipes, the easier it will be to help make this holiday season the healthiest it can be. Utilize the tools discussed above regarding recipe substitutions to cut calories where you can. Choosing recipes where baking versus frying is a prep method and or leaving out the requested brown sugar, syrup, or melted butter toppings will help you keep in line with your eating goals this season.
Even though the holidays are only a few days out of the year, don’t use this as an excuse to over indulge. It is very easy to put on weight yet definitely difficult to keep it off. Utilizing these suggestions above will help you hopefully stay in line with making healthier and smarter choices this holiday.
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- Spicy Sweet Potato Dip
- Bacon Brussels Sprouts
- One Pan Meal: Halibut & Veggies
- Spaghetti Squash Bolognese Boats
- Roasted Carrot Turmeric Soup
- Matcha White Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Nahm Prik Noom (Thai Chile Dip)
- Best Red Salsa Bruschetta Board
- Crudité with Brothers Products
- Grilled Lobster Tails with Melted Butter & Tarragon
- Cilantro Shrimp Scampi
- Toasted Mushroom Ravioli
- World's Easiest Cranberry Dip
- Brussels and Kale Caesar Salad