The holidays are upon us, the holidays are upon us! Of course shopping and gift giving are at the top of things to do this time of year, but the next favorite holiday past time on that list is EATING! Yes, we all love to gather with good friends, drinks and food to bring in good cheer and it seems we do it aaaaallll month looooonnnng!!
After a month long of food and festivities, one can either loosen the ole’ belt buckle a notch or two…OR you can plan ahead and make some healthy choices along the way! An article about making healthy choices at holiday parties was recently published in the San Diego Union Tribune. Halle Elbling, a registered dietician and certified diabetes instructor for Palomar Health, gives these super helpful tips:
Before the party or holiday meal:
• Don’t “save up” your calories by eating very little or nothing at all the day of the event. You are much more likely to overindulge and consume more calories.
• Eat a high-fiber breakfast. High-fiber foods fill you up and keep you satisfied for a long time. Try oatmeal, shredded wheat or any whole grain cereal. Before going to a party, have a light snack such as vegetable sticks, fruit, salad, a handful of unsalted nuts or half a sandwich.
When you are at the party:
• If food is served buffet-style, survey the offerings and decide what you’ll take before getting in line. Control your calories by using a smaller food plate.
• Vary your choices to include some lean protein foods, lots of vegetables and a small-to-moderate amount of starches. Minimize or avoid fried foods or dishes in rich creamy sauces.
• Offer to bring a healthy dish to the party. Your host will greatly appreciate the healthy option.
• Use low-fat instead of whole fat dairy products in your recipes. Replace some whole eggs with egg whites or egg substitutes, or try an equal amount of fruit puree like applesauce for oil in cake, bread, brownie or muffin mixes.
• Use 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon of soft margarine in place of every 1 ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate.
• Use fat-free milk, yogurt, sour cream or cream cheese in place of whole-fat products. Try vanilla fat-free yogurt instead of whipped cream.
• Choose small portions of the high-calorie foods you can’t resist. Balance your plate with low- fat options like fruits and vegetables.
• Alcohol provides many calories. So avoid excess alcohol.
• Sit down when eating. Pay attention to what you are eating. Take time and enjoy the taste of your meal.
• Leave the food table when done eating. Focus on socializing and talking to friends and family, not eating.
• Try to exercise before the party or take a walk with family or friends later to help burn off any excess calories.
Choose these holiday foods more often: Skinless turkey or chicken breast, steamed or roasted vegetables, tossed salad, fresh fruit, whole grain rice, plain potatoes and water.
Choose less often: Beef prime rib, gravies and sauces, stuffing, bread pudding, pie, cake, eggnog, sugar-sweetened beverages and high-calorie alcoholic beverages.