Healthy Holiday Eating & Smart Swap Outs
Can you believe it? It’s the holiday season already! Things will kick off this week with Thanksgiving plus oodles of delicious food and drink. This year, many of us are thankful for reaching some of our health and fitness goals. Maybe you finally shifted some stubborn weight or achieved a personal best record while working out. Whatever it is you achieved, you don’t want to cancel out all your hard work over the next month or so. Healthy holiday eating is possible and we’ve put together a guide to coach you through holiday get-togethers and feasts.
Healthy Holiday Eating
The holiday season is the one time of year when everyone should be able to indulge a little bit more than usual…..and without guilt. Here are our top tips for healthy holiday eating:
- If you are hosting, you have more control over the food. If you think you can handle it, offer to host people in your home this year and make your healthy faves.
- Don’t skip meals during the day before going to an evening party or meal. You will only end up eating more than you ever wanted.
- If you are going to a party, have a healthy snack before you leave your home. This will curb your hunger and you will be less inclined to overindulge.
- If you don’t want to drink a lot of alcohol but are worried about festive temptation, offer to be the designated driver for friends and family.
- Take a look at all your options before deciding what to eat. Load up your plate will veggies, salads and healthier options first.
- If you are at a party with finger food or a buffet, try a little bit of everything but in small portions.
- Eat slowly so you have less time to go back for seconds!
- Stay away from unhealthy foods you can get any time of year and stick to the seasonal treats.
- Take time to make a healthy dish if going to a potluck.
- Be social. Keep on mingling and talking to distract yourself from the nibbles on offer.
- Try to walk as much as possible. Walk home (safely!) if you attend a party close to home.
- Don’t get angry at yourself if you do gain a few pounds over Thanksgiving and Christmas. The season only lasts for a few weeks and you can work the weight off in the New Year.
Smart Swap Outs
For every seasonal treat, there is probably a healthier option. Here are our favorites:
- In need of a starch fix? Eat yams instead of white potatoes.
- Step away from the cheese and crackers! Much on vegetables with a cheese dip instead.
- When there’s a choice between nuts and chips, choose nuts.
- And if there’s a choice between salted and unsalted nuts, go for the unsalted.
- However, if you do go for chips and fancy a dip, ignore creamy dips like spinach and artichoke and stick with salsa dips or any dip made without mayonnaise or sour cream.
- Ham or turkey? While it’s tempting to have both, turkey is the healthier option.
- Should there be grilled, fried and mashed vegetable options, go for the grilled veggies.
- If green beans are a tradition in your household, try a green bean stir-fry instead of a casserole this year.
- Pumpkin and pecan pies are both Thanksgiving Day staples. Pumpkin pie has half as much sugar though.
- The holiday season is fully of sugary cookies and baked goods. Steer clear of these and opt for plain shortbread or cookies dusted with cinnamon instead.
- Red wine or white? Red has ever so slightly fewer calories plus it’s full of antioxidants which can help prevent heart disease and cancer.
- If you do not drink alcohol and water gets a bit boring after a while, a flavored sparkling seltzer water is better than a sugar-laden soda.
- Replace fattening dips with Greek yogurt dips, guacamole & salsa
- If your cooking never use canned, always fresh or frozen (no candied yams, baked sweet potatoes are much better)
- Skip dark meat, oily meats with skin, opt for the light turkey or chicken breast instead
- Never buy store-made stuffing, make yours at home instead
- Skip traditional gravy, make a low fat gravy instead
- Skip canned cranberry sauce, make a cranberry relish from real cranberries instead
- Replace all white bread with whole grain sprouted breads
- Replace egg nog and do ciders or sugar free cocoa instead
- Use splenda or stevia instead of sugar in all your baking items
- Replace butter with olive oil spray or coconut oil (people tend to spray less than smearing butter)
- If you use cheese opt for low fat or fat free, most people will never notice the difference if you take it out of the bag
- Instead of paper plates and plastic utensils, use nice china or fancy dishes and silverware (people will usually eat less when they realize how many dishes they use by refilling plates. Plus nobody wants to make the host wash extra dishes so they typically will cut down on trips to the holiday buffet line.
- Sneak vegetables in with everything. Making Mac in cheese, add cooked blended yellow or butternut squash. Making casseroles, double the veggies.
- Replace chocolate with sugar free chocolate chips or dark chocolate (cuts your sugar content down and no one will notice)
- Use powdered peanut butter instead of real peanut butter
- Opt for low calorie or fat free dressings instead or real mayo, or fattening creamy dressings
Remember that the holiday season is about spending time with friends and family. It’s ok to ignore a strict diet for a few weeks but, as you can see, there are plenty of healthy holiday eating options!
Feeling better about your health or fitness shouldn’t be a chore. If you ever need some extra support, come by BEFIT to speak with one of our trainers or simply fill out a Free Consultation Request by clicking the link and a fitness professional will reach out to you within 24 hours.