Making the Holidays HealthyThe holiday season only comes around once a year, so why not go ahead and splurge? Because gaining weight during the holiday season can occur. Year after year, most of us pack on at least a pound (some gain more) during the holidays.
But the holiday season does not have to sabotage your weight. With a little know-how, you can satisfy your desire for traditional favorites and still enjoy a guilt-free feast. After all, being stuffed is a good idea only if you are a turkey!
The holidays can be so much more than big dinners and high-calorie appetizers. They are a good time for us to focus on what matters and spend quality time with our loved ones. All the while, you can still enjoy holiday foods by keeping portions under control and eating mindfully.
· Give yourself something to look forward to other than your holiday feast. Start a new tradition that gets everyone up and moving. Try running or walking a holiday race with your family. You could also start an annual flag football game, or take the whole gang sledding. Manage your holiday stress level by being realistic. Don’t take on more duties than you can handle.
· When you bring a dish to a holiday party, look for a lighter recipe.
· Don’t skip meals earlier in the day. Coming to a party hungry means you'll be more likely to overeat..
· Base appetizers on fresh or roasted vegetables, fruits, lean meats, breads and reduced-fat cheeses Fill a small appetizer plate once instead of snacking on chips and dip straight from the bowl.
· Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy.
· Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and/or fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods.
· Reduce oil and butter wherever you can.
· Try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.
· Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorite. Include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
· Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy.
· Be careful with beverages. Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.Here are some easy tips for making healthier foods.
· 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 ounce serving.
· Green Bean Casserole — Cook fresh green beans with chucks of potatoes instead of cream soup. Top with almonds instead of fried onion rings.
· Make creamy dishes without the cream. Creamy sauces like those in fettuccine alfredo or homemade macaroni and cheese are often loaded with butter, heavy cream and/or cheese. We ditch heavy cream and make velvety sauces with low-fat milk that’s thickened with flour. To make your own cream substitute: Combine 1 cup low-fat milk with 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour; whisk over medium heat until bubbling and thick. Cup for cup, thickened low-fat milk saves more than 680 calories and 53 grams saturated fat vs. heavy cream.
· 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.