Whenever the holidays roll around we seem to lose sight of our weight loss goals. We eat without any regard for our overall well being. We make excuses that it is the holidays so it does not really matter and depending on the holiday we over indulge in all sorts of treats. At Christmas it is too many cookies, on Valentine’s Day we eat too much chocolate, on Saint Patrick’s Day it’s that extra helping of corned beef and Irish soda bread that puts our daily caloric intake well over the desired amount and before we know it we have gained a few extra pounds. The jeans do not button up and it’s a little extra effort to walk up that flight of steps. Then we realize that we can not live this way and the whole weight loss cycle begins all over again. Trying all sorts of fad diets and quick fixes to lose the extra bulge so we feel better about ourselves and of course before the next holiday so we can gain it all back again. Rather than take part in this never ending circle of useless over eating try making healthy holiday food choices. Enjoy the meals that you like, but cut out the unnecessary calories. Follow these tips for fixing healthy holiday meals and watch yourself make it through the holidays without gaining the extra pounds.
Tips for Fixing Healthy Holiday Meals
1- Use low fat and fat free dairy products in your recipes to cut back on the fat calories from regular products. Aim for skim milk or one percent milk rather than two percent or whole. If you are not a fan of the skim milk try skim plus – it has a creamier texture that resembles the taste of two percent.
2- Use whole wheat / whole grain breads and pastas, and brown rice to increase your fiber intake which will help you stay more full and satisfied with a smaller portion.
3- When baking, substitute apple sauce or pureed prunes for the oil to cut out the fat from your favorite baked goods. Use the same portion specified in the recipe. For example, if the recipe calls for ½ c. of oil use ½ c. of applesauce.
4- Substitute egg whites or egg beaters for the whole egg. This will cut back on the fat and cholesterol.
5- Substitute light butters like Smart Balance or Olivio for butter to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your recipe.
6- Limit the use of oils to one teaspoon per person per serving. Use oils like Canola and olive to cut back on saturated fat.
7- Use lean meats, like chicken breast rather than chicken thighs or wings. Aim for lean cuts of red meat like filet mignon. The less marbling of your meat the leaner it is.
8- Seafood dishes that are not fried are always a great option.
Message from the Registered Dietitian
Follow these tips for fixing healthy holiday meals and eating your favorite foods without gaining all the extra weight can be really easy to do during the holidays. Be mindful of your portions and food choices. Also remember to stay active and you will never have to worry about gaining those unnecessary pounds.
This information is based on my education and experience working at SHS Nutrition, LLC in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Smart Balance www.smartbalance.com
Farmland Dairies, LLC www.farmlanddairies.com