5 Healthy Eating Goals to Tame the Holiday Season Indulgences
Thanksgiving tops the charts as America’s holiday with the highest food consumption and Christmas Day falls close behind in third place (with Superbowl Sunday nudged in-between). The holiday season is here, but amidst the festivities it’s possible to eat, drink and be merry while keeping tabs on your waistline.
Keep these five goals in mind to enjoy the holiday season in good health!
1. Aim to maintain weight, not lose weight. Contrary to common belief, the average American only gains one pound between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas; however, most people may not lose that extra weight. In these next two months set reasonable weight expectations by focusing on maintenance—plus, get a head start on those January 1st resolutions!
2. At the party, scan and plan. During family gatherings or cocktail parties, survey the entire food scene before diving into the first dish that comes your way. Then plan your plate accordingly, prioritizing decadent nibbles and filling up on lean protein (think shrimp cocktail, chicken skewers, meatballs with light sauce) and plenty of fruit and veggies.
3. When entertaining, offer healthy alternatives. I’m all for respecting family traditions and in my family no holiday season is complete without my grandma’s pumpkin pie, her Guam-style red rice and Christmas sandies. But in addition to the must-have classics, sub in a light appetizer like these Caesar Salad Endive Spears, feature veggie-heavy side dishes or add a fruit platter to the dessert table.
4. Lighten up recipes with substitutions. Cut calories and fat with simple swaps, like switching low-fat milk for cream in mashed potatoes or substituting egg whites for eggs in eggnog. Reference this ingredient substitution chart from Healthcastle.com and for starters, try the Cornbread Stuffing with Brussels Sprouts & Squash pictured above (made with olive oil instead of butter). Delish!
5. Factor in physical activity. Need ideas? Take a stroll after the big meal, plan a walking tour to view the holiday lights or consider a holiday walk/run such as the annual Run to Feed the Hungry on Thanksgiving morning or the Fleet Feet Free Holiday Classic on December 16.