The holidays mean two things to most people: family and food. While there’s nothing better than getting to spend time with your loved ones after a long semester, it’s also that time of year again where we start to pack on the holiday pounds and settle in for a long and cold winter. Between office parties and family get-togethers, it’s easy to put on some hibernation weight and stray from a healthy diet. Use these tips for your upcoming parties so you don’t end up with a Santa belly!
When it comes to appetizers, it’s easy to go back to the spread multiple times and pick at the finger food. Make only one plate of appetizers and stick to that serving. It’s extremely easy to go back multiple times and just grab a bite or two here, but they do add up without you even realizing it. Veggie trays and fruit with dip are main staples you should stick to. Try to avoid tortilla chips which are usually high in sodium and seven layer dips that contain high fat items such sour cream and melted cheeses.
When it comes to the main course, use the USDA’s national nutritional guidelines when planning your plate. Half of your plate should be taken up by vegetables and fruits. Pile on the green bean casserole, but skip the cranberry sauce which is high in calories and especially sugars. The other half of your plate should be grains and protein which is where your stuffing and turkey comes in. It’s tempting to pour on a boatload of gravy to these traditional treats, but stick to just a simple spoonful if you want to spice them up. Gravy is not only high in fat and has a high calorie count, but it is also up there in sodium as well.
Now, I’m not going to tell you to skip pumpkin pie (because that’d just be absurd), but maybe rethink if you really need that extra scoop of ice cream on top or that glass of eggnog with it. Substitute skim milk as your delectable drink for dessert time and a scoop or two of Cool Whip instead of the ice cream. Cool Whip is a great substitute for ice cream and can come in a non-fat version which is wonderful not only as a pumpkin pie topping, but to dip fruit in as well! Keep alcoholic drinks to a minimum too since each drink is typically between 150-400 calories (whether it be beer or a cocktail) and is also packed with sugar.
There are also a few extra tidbits to remember when it comes to the upcoming holidays. Be conscious of what you have eaten and eat slowly. When you’re full, you’re full! Don’t try to force yourself to eat more just to finish your plate or to try everything on the buffet. You’ll only regret it on the car ride home. If you eat slowly, you’ll be more conscious of when you become full and will avoid over eating. Don’t go back for those seconds! Save room for that pumpkin pie instead of trying to fill your stomach to the brim during the main meal. One last thing to remember is that these holidays are to spend time with the ones we love. It’s easy to get lost in the hours of prep work for a meal, but instead of focusing on the food and how much you want to eat, spend that time talking with your family that you probably haven’t seen for a while. Hope these tips help and that everyone has a happy, healthy, and safe upcoming holiday season!