The holiday season is upon us, bringing with it a surplus of cookies, cakes, pies, stuffings, dips, and sauces. We all look forward to the holidays, but does this mean we have to take a holiday from healthy eating and exercising? The traditional foods that we’ve all come to enjoy have become a mainstay during the holidays, but they bring with them a hefty amount of calories and fat. With so many parties and events during the holidays, it’s not feasible to think we’re going to pass up every piece of pumpkin pie or cup of eggnog. So what’s the solution for those of us who can’t afford to add inches to our waistline?
Fortunately, there is still a way to enjoy those holiday foods without packing on the pounds. You can replace high-calorie foods with low-fat options or you can adjust your recipes.
- For dips, sauces, and pie toppings, try using non-fat yogurt or fat-free sour cream.
- When cooking with eggs, use egg substitutes or use two egg whites in place of one egg.
- Use evaporated skim milk rather than whole milk, cream, or whipping cream
- Use low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth in your mashed potatoes to decrease the fat
- Top casseroles with almonds instead of fried onion rings
- Use reduced-fat cheeses in salads and casseroles
- Replace oil with applesauce when baking
- Use three tablespoons of cocoa powder and one tablespoon of oil to make a healthier baking chocolateUse whole grain bread for stuffing and add barley or wild rice to increase the fiber content
- Gravy – refrigerate the gravy to harden the fat and skim the fat off. This will remove roughly 56g of fat per cup!
- Dressing – use less bread and add more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables and use low-fat low-sodium chicken broth to moisten it.
- Turkey – remove the skin from the turkey and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz. serving!
- Green Bean Casserole – cook fresh green beans with potatoes instead of cream of mushroom soup and top with almonds rather than fried onions.
Paying close attention to your meals is only half the battle. During the holidays, we often travel to see family and friends therefore, breaking our exercise routine. All of the early morning boot camps and aerobic’s classes we’ve be so dedicated to throughout the year can easily be forgotten. Below are a few ways to help incorporate exercise into your holiday activities.
- Set a fun goal. For example, vow to exercise every day (or every other day) for a month straight. Or aim to walk a mile for every $10 you spend on gifts. Why not treat yourself to a stress reducing “prize” when you meet your goals. Go get a massage or a manicure.
- Schedule a hard workout on a day when you’ll be attending a party later that night. It’s a great idea to burn calories beforehand so you won’t feel guilty for enjoying hor’dourves or glass of wine.
- Register for a race. There are several 5K charity events around the holidays. With a date and goal in mind, this should motivate you to get active.
- Get a partner to work out with, preferably someone with the same goals you have.
Take time to enjoy all the holidays have to offer. Just remember that a few small changes, and a conscience mind can help make the season a lot more enjoyable.
References: ADA’s Public Relations Team, American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide and www.Eatright.org.