Food may be the centerpiece of many festivities, but the holiday season does not mean you have to pack on the party pounds. Smart planning and good choices can help balance cravings and eating during gastronomical celebrations.
“It’s not uncommon for people to gain five-to-10 pounds during the holidays,” said Natalie Castro, a registered dietitian with Baptist Health. “But you don’t have to deprive yourself. Instead of thinking about what you ‘shouldn’t’ eat, think of this time as an opportunity to try new things and then be selective about the items you choose. By avoiding the ‘I want eat everything mentality,’ and reaching for small portions of items you don’t have every day, you can still enjoy a variety of tastes.”
Whether going to holiday party or an office gathering where there will be lots of goodies, prepare ahead of time. If you arrive with an empty stomach, tempting food will be harder to resist. Instead, eat a little something like a small sandwich, yogurt, nuts or fruit before a party to take the hunger edge off, says Ms. Castro. Then, follow these tips to enjoy guilt-free tastes of the season:
Healthy Holiday Eating Tips
Calorie-cutting Cooking Choices
Buy better-for-you ingredients when cooking a holiday dish. If the recipe calls for high-fat, sugary or salty items, these substitutes will help curb calories and unhealthy items without changing the flavor of your favorite dishes:
“With a little modification, it’s easy to select and make a better-for-you meals that don’t compromise taste and satisfaction,” adds Ms. Castro. “Focus on choosing and making dishes from scratch that use as many fresh and natural ingredients as possible. Eat and offer roasted vegetables, such as squash, carrots, leeks and peppers, or a green leafy salad. And don’t forget a lighter option at the dessert table, such as freshly-cut fruit, berries or light sorbet.”