HOW TO HAVE HEALTHY AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Holidays involve celebrations that often revolve around food and eating.  It's very easy to gain

weight and feel sluggish, or even sick, if you're not careful! 

Here are some tips to help you avoid excess calories and increased weight:

First, it's not only WHAT you choose, but also HOW the food is prepared and HOW MUCH you eat. You can enjoy the holidays without worry when you pay attention!

At parties:

  • Have a PLAN for how you'll eat before the party starts.
  • Have regular meals beforehand to avoid feeling starving and overeating when you arrive.  When you're over-hungry, you'll eat faster and often eat too much!
  • Look over the food first and decide what & how much you'll eat before digging in!
  • Consider bringing a healthy choice with you.  Examples: Fruit trays, vegetable platters with low fat or non fat dip, wholegrain crackers, tortillas or pitas with hummus, salsa or nonfat or low fat vegetable dips.
  • Stand or sit a distance away from the food to avoid "automatic eating."  You want to be aware of what and how much you are eating while you're talking!
  • Focus on conversation and non-food activities.

At traditional dinners:

  • Portion your plate to contain 1/2 vegetables (raw, tossed salad, and/or cooked) and 1/4 protein (meat,poultry, etc.)  1/4 starch (potatoes, pasta, etc.).
  • Avoid the skins on turkey and other poultry.  Cut away excess fat from meats.
  • Watch the stuffing! It has hidden fat: 1/2 cup (size of an ice cream scoop) contains about 19 grams of fat and 200 calories!
  • Cranberry sauce has vitamin C, but also sugar, so 2-4 Tbsp is a healthy serving.
  • Gravy can be made healthier by skimming the fat from drippings before thickening.
  • Enjoy dessert! Fruit compote or crisp, single crust fruit pie & pumpkin pie are all good sources of vitamins and fiber.  Eat slowly & savor; you'll be satisfied with less!

When dining out:

  • Salad can be an excellent high fiber/low fat addition to any meal. Order dressing on the side to control the added fat & calories.
  • First course choices of broth soups or salad will help fill you and slow your eating.
  • Realize portion sizes are LARGE. Share or take some home for another meal.

Don't forget to move: You can always increase your exercise to balance out more eating to keep your weight, and your health, in check.

 Written by Mary Jo Parker, MS, RD, CDN,Nutrition Consultant to Personal Touch Food Services, Inc.