The holidays are a time for us to be around the ones we love, enjoy a great meal, and who knows, maybe even watch some football. But it doesn’t have to wreck your diet, and leave you in a food coma with your waistline bulging.
Here are some tips for keeping your holiday food a little healthier this year.
- Eat light and healthy all week. On the days just before the celebration, eat lighter meals, packed with fruits, vegetables and lean sources of protein, and try to avoid extra calories wherever necessary to allow yourself more wiggle room for splurging on holiday deliciousness.
- In the morning, start your day out with a solid workout. Go for a 30-minute run, a nice hike with your family, or check out local events in your area. In Orange County, a very popular turkey day event is the Turkey Trot in Dana Point. Burn some calories before the big meal and enjoy that dessert because you earned it!
- Skip the Whip. If you like pumpkin pie, avoid the whipped topping, and save yourself up to 75 calories! The same goes for hot cocoa or alcoholic coffee beverages.
- Substitute chicken stock for butter if you are making stuffing. Stuffing deliciously dangerous. It can pack anywhere from 300 to 600 calories in one cup serving, depending on your recipe. If you’re like me and you love stuffing, wait until the end of your meal to have some, so you won’t over do it, and put a small amount on your plate at a time.
- Start eating your vegetable side dishes, like salad, Brussels sprouts or carrots, before the more carbohydrate-rich sides like corn bread, or mashed potatoes.
- Avoid the gravy. Instead of gravy on your turkey, try dipping your turkey in the turkey juice left over in the cooking dish. Instead of mashed potatoes and gravy, make oven roasted potatoes instead.
- Don’t put too much on your plate at once. Your eyes are always bigger than your stomach, and besides, what is better than holiday leftovers the next day?
What will you do differently this holiday season to make them healthier?
Helen Villarino, Dietetic Student at California State University, Long Beach
Student Representative for the CDA-Orange District Dietetic Association