Let’s face it, during the holidays it’s a smorgasbord of delicious food temptations. Whether it’s holiday cookies around the office, multiple holiday parties, or celebrating the holidays with family. Food is the heart of holiday celebrations. I myself have to make sure I’m prepared mentally for the temptations. I accomplish this by staying away from certain foods, portion control, along with a few other helpful healthy tips to follow. This is your holiday eating guide by Chrissy!
Foods to Avoid
There are quite a few foods that you should stay clear of while at your holiday gatherings. I want everyone to be able to enjoy themselves, but if you stay away from these foods you are keeping yourself clear of extra fats and calories. Then with these few foods to avoid, you can still enjoy your delicious meal and not feel guilty for splurging.
1) The first food on my list of foods to avoid for the thanksgiving or holiday season is the crispy turkey skin. The skin of a turkey is full of saturated fats, and this goes for the skin of the chicken also. Saturated fat is considered a bad fat. These fats are found in many types of meat, dairy products (cheese, milk, and butter) and the skin or turkey and chicken. What do saturated fats do? It has been linked to a number of studies that this leads to higher cholesterol in the blood which is one of the risk factors in the development of coronary heart disease. If you can avoid the skin you will be adding lots of protein to help fill your belly while avoiding the saturated fats.
2) You should avoid stuffing, which is normally loaded with butter and high-fat meats such as bacon or sausage. You could make this a better option if you were to make this dish. You can make it healthier by replacing butter with low-sodium chicken broth or skipping out on the meat. You could also substitute by making a stuffing with brown rice instead of the bread.
3) Steer clear of Sweet Potato Casserole! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE sweet potatoes and their nutritional benefits, but in this dish, it’s full of butter, sugar, and marshmallows which outweigh the benefits. This delicious dish can be made healthier if you’re the one to make it. You can do this by cutting out the butter, use stevia sugar (and cut the amount you would use in half), and maybe even lighten up on the marshmallows. This way you can still enjoy the dish and make it healthier.
The final item you should avoid is eggnog. Alcoholic eggnog will slow your metabolism, and on top of that, it has heavy cream, eggs, and sugar which add up to calorie and fat intake. You could have one cup of eggnog and that’s about 340 calories and 19 grams of fat. Instead of this option, try having 1 glass of red wine.
Portion control is something I have a hard time with. Where I grew up, everyone always finished their plate. On the holidays I will say my plate gets pretty full! To help with this I always suggest using a smaller plate. If there are only large plates set out, ask politely for a smaller plate. Then go to town and fill that plate up. Avoid the foods on the avoid list, and add some protein (turkey, chicken, lean steak), and lots of green veggies. Of course still, add some of your favorite holiday staples in there, but remember to fill your belly with the food that’s better for you nutrition wise.
Another way to help with portion control is drinking lots of water during throughout the day. Drinking a glass of water helps keep you full, burns calories, and helps flush out your system. Resting energy expenditure is when your body burns calories from drinking water. It has been shown that when drinking water your resting energy expenditure increases 24-30% within 10 minutes and lasts for about 60 minutes. In this same study it was shown that drinking .5 liters of water results in 23 calories burned, and in a year that’s about 17,000 calories.
Bring a Healthy Dish
Consider bringing a healthy dish to share with everyone at your holiday event or party. With this option, you know what ingredients you are putting in your meal. with this tip usually suggest bringing a main dish, full of protein (to keep you full) or a healthy dessert to help curb your cravings. My weakness is sweets. My family knows I’m the one who goes to the dessert table at least three times. Crockpots are great, and you can easily make a healthy chicken/turkey dish in the crockpot with a spice mix and walla you are done. Feel free to try out my Crockpot Chicken Fiesta Recipe! It’s healthy, simple, and delicious. For dessert, a great option would be something made with cool whip. Cool whip is lower in calories and sugar. So you could make a dish with fresh fruit, and some sugar-free pudding and cool whip. There are so many ways to make some delicious dishes that are lower in calories.
For me, the best part of any holiday party or event is the dessert table!! Sugar and sweets are my ultimate weakness. My suggestion to you, since I deal with this every celebration, is to plan your meals around your dessert. If there is a dessert that looks like you would enjoy, I would cut out a carbohydrate from dinner to prepare yourself. It’s all about moderation. You can enjoy the sweets as long as it’s not something you do on a daily basis. Also if there are a few options that you MUST have, I could make sure to cut smaller portions so you can enjoy a little of everything. I like to make dessert a reward for me for sticking to my healthy meal planning.
Lastly, the holidays are all about celebrating everything you are grateful for with your family and friends. That is by far the most important part. This holiday eating guide was created to help you stay on track to becoming a better you. I hope it serves you well!
Enjoy, and have a wonderful holiday season!