Have you ever decided to lose weight right before the holidays start? You are not alone. There are many people who want to try to lose weight and be healthier throughout the year, and the holidays are no exception. It can be very heard to “stick to your plan” during the holidays. During the holiday’s we tend to consume more calories than normal, as well as skip our normal exercise routine. In fact, on average, indulging during Thanksgiving dinner can total 4,000-4,500 calories alone, with 200-230 grams of fat.
I have listed the Top 12 Nutrition Tips to help ensure you have a Healthy Holiday Season.
- Get physical. It’s important to be active all year long, but it’s especially key to squeeze in a workout on the Holiday you plan to eat extra on (example – Thanksgiving). Exercise will boost your metabolism and help offset some of the calories you’ll consume at the big feast.
- Plan ahead of time what you’ll eat. Decide which Special dish(es)you can’t live without – grandma’s homemade stuffing, chocolate cake, sweet potato casserole and which aren’t worth the extra calories and carbohydrates. There will be tons to choose from, and it can be tempting to dig into it all. But chances are a lot of it will be everyday fare and not special holiday food. Leave the cheese and crackers behind (you can have those anytime) and, instead, hold off to enjoy the stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and a slice of pie—those foods that you rarely eat and mean something special to you.
- Eat something light and healthy for breakfast. While some people skip breakfast on Thanksgiving morning in preparation for the big meal, it’s never a good idea. Keep your hunger and metabolism in check with a light and nutritious morning meal. Try oatmeal and fruit, egg whites and sautéed veggies, or peanut butter and bananas on whole wheat toast.
- Limit the gravy. You don’t have to drench everything in gravy for your food to be delicious – use the smallest amount possible. You’ll still get the gravy flavor, but with less fat and calories.
- Choose white meat over dark. White meat, like turkey breast, is naturally leaner than dark meat, like turkey thighs. It’s a simple way to cut excess calories from your meal.
- Smaller plates / bowls. Use a smaller dish, like a salad plate, to trick your mind into thinking you’re eating more food than you really are.
- Eat in certain order. Start your holiday meal with vegetables and a couple of slices of chicken or turkey breast, then go light on more indulgent dishes like stuffing or dressing, casseroles and candied yams.
- Use herbs and spices in place of salt. Rub a turkey breast with smoked paprika, sage and extra-virgin olive oil; mince fresh tarragon into stuffing; blend minced garlic cloves into mashed potatoes; sprinkle turmeric powder into sweet potatoes.
- Don’t forget to drink your water. The centers in the brain that process the feelings of hunger and thirst are very close together, so it’s not uncommon for someone who is thirsty to feel like they’re hungry when they really aren’t. Staying well hydrated throughout the day and drinking a big glass of water about 30 minutes before the meal is served is a good way to help your body sense when you are truly full. Substitute water or seltzer for cocktails (or at least in an alternating pattern with alcoholic beverages)—another great way to cut back on extra calories.
- You can have it all, just not a lot of everything. You don’t have to give up the creamy casseroles or the decadent desserts on special holidays. Just have a small helping of your favorite foods and savor each bite.
- Bring your own. One of the main complaints that I get is that there’s “nothing healthy” at the party, so people tend to go “all in.” Knowing that there is at least one healthy dish that you can use as the main part of your meal and then have other favorites on the side is a great compromise and healthy plan while still enjoying some of your favorites in moderation.
- Avoid thinking you will be perfect on that day. If you end up splurging, don’t beat yourself up. One day of indulgence isn’t going to wreck your healthy lifestyle or cause you to gain 10 pounds. Rather than feel guilty, get back on track the next day and don’t let your splurge serve as an excuse to overdo it every day until the New Year.
Healthy Alternative to Pumpkin Pie:
- 15 ounces pumpkin
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg
- 1 (3 1/2 ounce) packages vanilla instant pudding mix, fat free, sugar-free
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 8 ounces Cool Whip Free, thawed
Using a mixer, blend pumpkin and spices with milk and pudding mix. Fold in Cool Whip. Chill. Serve with ginger snaps or vanilla wafers or graham crackers.
If you are interested in learning more about Healthy Eating during the Holidays, please contact us at 252-364-2806 or go to https://kineticptgreenville.com/dietician-and-nutrition-services-greenville-nc/ to learn more.