Healthy Holiday Food and Diet Tips from WebMD


As much as we look forward to holiday parties and dinners, many of us think we’re going to overeat and put on weight.

In fact, the average American eats and drinks 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat (like 3 sticks of butter) on a traditional Thanksgiving day? Studies show that Americans earn one pound on average during the winter holiday season. Year after year, it can build up and contribute to being overweight or obese later in life.

While we may not all gain weight during the holidays, there is no doubt that we tend to eat and drink more — and exercise less. With the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, parties and festive traditions, healthy eating and exercise are usually among the first things to do.

Nobody wants to go on a strict diet during the holidays. We want to enjoy the abundance of traditional favorites. How can you enjoy the holidays without gaining weight? Nutritionists say it’s not that hard, with a little planning.

  • First, change the way you think. If you’re trying to lose weight, by mid-November, shift your focus from losing weight to maintaining weight. “The holiday season is tough enough to just maintain your weight, let alone try to lose weight. So do yourself a favor,” says Joanne Salg Blake, MS, RD, clinical assistant professor at Boston University. Allow yourself some rewards and set your weight maintenance goal so you can enjoy holiday foods and wait until the New Year to get back on your weight loss plan.
  • Second, be strategic with calories. If you’re host to dinner parties and parties, cut calories wherever you can without compromising tradition or flavour. It will help everyone enjoy abundant food without unnecessary calories. Keep in mind that losing weight is much more difficult than not gaining it in the first place.

Here are 10 tips to make your holiday meals more comforting.

1. Shop smart for healthy holidays

Plan your menu to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.

Check the nutrition label to choose foods that are rich in nutrients but low in fat, calories and sugar.

To shave calories, go easy when adding nuts, cheese, cream sauces, broth, butter, and whipped cream.

2. Turn on the party light

Most appetizers tend to be loaded with calories. It is very easy to take before a meal.

Make it easier on your guests by serving up light and satisfying appetizers. For a delicious and healthy appetizer, serve shrimp cocktails, whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese, vegetables with low-fat yogurt, or fresh fruit skewers.

3. Harness the power of the production diet

Add more simple vegetable and fruit dishes to your menu instead of heavy dishes with sauces. Your guests will be filled with healthy fiber without a lot of extra calories.

For example, mandarin green beans with lemon juice is healthier than a traditional green bean casserole. Peas or corn are healthier than peas or corn. But if you must have a casserole, use low-fat soup, increase the veggies, and top with crunchy whole grain cereal instead of the fried onions.

4. Freeze in winter

Fresh foods are usually best when fruits and vegetables are in season. But when prices skyrocket in the winter, head to the frozen foods section.

“Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually less expensive and can be more nutritious because they are picked at the peak of their ripeness and immediately frozen,” says Sarah Krieger, RD. Buy frozen produce in bags, use only what you need, and save more by not wasting spoiled produce.

Canned foods can also be a healthy option. Read nutrition labels to find fruits and vegetables that are lower in sodium and sugar, says Krieger. Reduce sodium and sugar solutions further by rinsing vegetables or fruits with cold water before cooking.

5. Respect special requests

As you plan your holiday menu, ask if guests have any food preferences or intolerances. For example, a dear friend may be allergic to lactose. His favorite cousin may have cut red meat out of his diet.

You cannot please everyone. But you can include a variety of healthy foods. Then, your guests can pick and choose, filling their plate with a satisfying meal no matter what their food issue.

6. Cut calories with simple swaps

Create healthy versions of your holiday favorites by cutting calories wherever you can.

“Simple swaps for low-fat ingredients are easy ways to save calories—and no one will notice the difference,” says Cheryl Forberg, RD.

Use chicken broth, skim milk, light cheese, and low-fat milk instead of the high-fat ingredients. Replace fat-free yogurt or apple juice with oil in baked goods.

7. Roast or grill for rich flavor with fewer calories

Roasting or grilling meat, seafood, vegetables, and potatoes is a simple, low-calorie cooking technique that brings out the foods’ natural sweetness and flavor.

Roasted sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and a drizzle of butter are delicious alternatives to a traditional casserole full of calories.

Grilled pork chops served with mango chutney are great to replace crusted pork chops in cream of mushrooms.

8. Serve healthy desserts

For dessert, try chocolate dipped strawberries for a colorful and delicious finale.

If you want to serve up a pie, opt for a healthy pumpkin pie. Make it with skim evaporated milk. Apply a layer of fat-free skin over it.

9. Sprinkle your drinks

Eggnog and other holiday drinks can add quite a few calories. Offer your guests plenty of low-calorie drinks such as diet soda, sparkling water, or low-calorie drinks.

Alcohol releases inhibitions and can increase hunger. This combination can lead to eating more than you planned. So do yourself and your guests: Serve simple alcohol options like wine and beer without heavy cocktail mixers. And make sure you have mocktails or other alcohol-free options for non-drinkers.

10. Planning and scanning to avoid weight gain during vacation

“In anticipation that you will eat and drink more than usual, try to reduce your calories and ensure your fitness every day so you can enjoy a ‘controlled’ meal without feeling guilty,” says Joanne Salge Blake, MS, RD, clinical assistant professor at Boston University. .

“Clear the buffet and fill your plate with simply prepared foods, no sauces or stir-fries, sit down and take your time to savor and savor every bite,” she says. Resist the urge to come back for more by waiting at least 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are comfortably full. If you are still hungry, eat more vegetables and drink water.

Remember that holidays have many traditions, but the real meaning is about spending time with family and friends.

If you keep these tips in mind, you will spend the holidays without profit. And if you’re bragging, just go back to your usual eating and exercise routine, and try to make better choices at your next party.

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