Strategies for A Healthy Holiday

by / / Tips

The South is not known for its health food, and the holidays are no exception. For those trying to watch their intake, this could be considered a particularly trying time of year.

No one is suggesting you refuse Aunt Shirley’s famous mirliton casserole outright, but where do you draw the line?

Here are a few tips to help control the calories this season, so you can have your cake and eat it too!

Beverages

If there’s one thing that shows up in force during the holidays, it’s special drinks. Whether it’s obviously unhealthy like eggnog, or sneaky like cocktails, these dot the party landscape like so many landmines.

A simple fix is to avoid alcohol as much as possible, but since that advice is pretty Scrooge-like you just need a few hacks to have fun without busting your diet. Arm yourself with these tips and tricks to keep yourself on the straight and narrow!

Cocktails

A simple trick here is just to drink water! Have a glass before you arrive at the holiday party or gathering, then have another for every drink.

Not only will this cut down on your headache, but filling your stomach with water will slow down your drinking so you can really enjoy the taste of that special cocktail.

Eggnog

The easiest tip for this holiday staple is to simply cut the fat by skipping any toppings aside from a sprinkle of nutmeg; you don’t need anything extra to get that yummy creamy flavor!

A bonus hack: you can still enjoy all the flavor with less calories by filling your glass with skim or low-fat milk first, then adding in eggnog the rest of the way. A ratio of one part eggnog to two parts milk is a good place to start, but experiment to your own taste.

Hot Cocoa

We can recycle one tip from earlier here; skip the whipped cream to really cut down on your calories!

If you’re in charge of the preparation, look for mixes that specify ‘low-fat’ or ‘low-sugar’ on the box. Another tip is to use skim milk, or even almond milk in the kitchen when preparing this holiday treat. Some advocate using water instead of milk, but use your own taste buds for deciding that one!

Apple Cider

This is one of those treats that can really sneak up on you. While it may seem like a healthier alternative, if you don’t check the nutrition info you can be in for a sugar bomb!

If this is a favorite, make a tradition out of making it yourself with unsweetened apple juice and whole spices to get all the flavor without the calories!

Dinner

Here’s where things can really get complicated. How do you enjoy your favorites without going overboard?

One of our favorite tricks is actually a little prepwork: eat a healthy, filling snack a few hours before the event to keep yourself from being famished & filling up your plate with items that are not-so-good-for-you.

Here are a few more simple concepts to guide you through!

Entree

Did you know that a serving of protein is considered to be about the size of a deck of cards? Keep this in mind when choosing your meat; a simple solution to this when multiple meats are available is to select smaller portions of each.

Also, choose the lighter pieces of chicken or turkey, and skip the gravy to keep your fat consumption in check; this will give you more room on your plate (and in your diet) for other items.

Sides

Here’s an area that can be tricky to navigate. Of course you know to go for the green salad & fresh veggies, but do you have to cut out the others entirely?

A simple hack for those often gut-busting treats is to offer to make them yourself! You’ll be helping out the host, and keeping a close eye on ingredients to ensure a healthier holiday for everyone!

If you can’t make the items yourself, then the next best option is to select small portions of stuffing or casserole but skip the gravy. This is a simple way to still get the taste of that holiday favorite without completely losing your way.

Also, keep your breads to a minimum. Rolls and biscuits are sneaky diet bombs, with way more sodium & calories than you may realize. One per plate is a good rule.

Sweet Treats

While this area could seem to be one you should simply avoid, all hope is not lost. Sometimes you just want to be a kid again and enjoy that sweet potato pie without the guilt. Here are some ways to make that happen!

Size Matters

We all have our weaknesses, so refusing dessert outright is probably not a good plan. But there is hope! You don’t have to eat the entire slice of cake/pie/tartlet/doughnut/whatever!

Use the buddy system here: locate that fellow partygoer who is trying to play it safe, and split the treat into smaller portions! Everyone gets a taste, no one has to blow their diet.

Location, Location, Location

Sound advice in real estate, also applicable to the dessert table? Choose your slice carefully, since the calories you eat can actually be affected by where you eat from.

Eat the pie, not the towering topping. Or, enjoy the cake, not all that icing. Simple, right?

Professional Advice

When you’re trying to eat healthier, no matter the time of year, a little professional help can go a long way.

Our nutrition experts at Sleep Rite are your go-to resource on all the little ways to make the best decision possible for you and your health.

We’d be happy to help you navigate the murky waters of family potlucks, and come up with a nutrition plan to get you on the right track in the New Year!

Get in touch with our experts today, and enjoy the holidays the right way!

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