Tag Archives: healthy holiday eating

Tips for fixing a healthy Thanksgiving meal

The holidays are fast approaching with Thanksgiving looming large on our calendar. Here are some very useful tips from Rush University Medical Center for fixing that holiday meal without taxing your friends and family.

Prepare a feast fit for … your waistline
Thanksgiving is known for quality time around the table with friends and family — and for its large portions of indulgent dishes.

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It is easy to overeat when faced with so many delicious foods. In fact, research suggests the average Thanksgiving meal contains a whopping 3,000 to 4,500 calories, which is far more than the average man or woman needs in an entire day.

Here are some tips and tricks to lighten up some of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes — so you can impress your friends and family with a feast that’s as nutritious as it is delicious.

To reduce sodium:
Use reduced sodium, or unsalted chicken broth or stock when making mashed potatoes or stuffing.
Add flavor with herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme and garlic instead of salt.
Canned vegetables tend to be high in sodium, so read the labels and choose low sodium varieties. Or opt for fresh or frozen veggies instead.
To cut sugar:
Sugar provides texture and tenderness to baked goods such as muffins and cakes. However, baked goods often contain a lot of sugar.

Cutting the sugar in your recipe will save you excess calories without compromising your dessert. Start by reducing the sugar by one quarter. If you’re satisfied with the taste and texture, try cutting the sugar in half. This can save you approximately 200 to 400 calories (for ¼ cup and ½ cup of sugar, respectively) per recipe. Continue reading

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Filed under holiday weight gain, thanksgiving, weight control

How to battle holiday weight gain – Rush

In deference to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday which ushers in the holiday season, I published yesterday my post – Healthy eating tops for the holidays.

I thought this write up from Rush University Medical Center was a worthwhile follow up. The Rush dietitian has some good detailed suggestions and examples.

Trying to lose weight during the holiday season may be unrealistic, given that the average American gains one to five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, a six-week span marked by celebrations, eating and drinking.

This is especially true for people who are already overweight.

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A review of studies evaluating holiday weight gain determined the average gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to be only 0.8 pounds. However, people who were already overweight or obese gained as much as five pounds. A more recent evaluation also found that obese people experienced greater increases in body fat over the holiday season compared to people in the normal weight range. Continue reading

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Filed under holiday eating, holiday weight gain, Weight, weight control, weight loss, weight mainetenance

What Are Some Low Calorie After Dinner Drinks?

During this holiday season, temptations come at us from all angles, at home, at work, visiting friends. It is a real challenge to simply maintain our weight, let alone lose any during these months. I have written several posts on Healthy eating tips for the holidays beginning back on October 28.

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So, it was encouraging to read WebMD’s recommendation on low calorie after dinner drinks. “While they are mostly empty calories, many alcoholic “after dinner” drinks aren’t as decadent as you may think. A standard shot (1.5 ounces) of chocolate-infused liqueur from one gourmet chocolatier is less than 100 calories. So is crème de cacao.

“Another decadently sweet treat is strawberries dipped in chocolate, which average about 40 calories each. Dip two strawberries in warm, dark chocolate instead of dipping into a molten chocolate cake and you’ll save anywhere from 200 to 1,000 calories.”

As always, paying attention to portion size can keep you from going too far astray.

Enjoy the holidays!

Tony

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Filed under circadian cycles, running, salt

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips #5 – At Home

Having covered holiday eating situations in which you are the guest, what about the one(s) in which you are the host(ess)?

Here are some suggestions from a presentation by Holly Herrington, MS RD, before Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Healthy Transitions Program®.

Experiment with Recipes

Don’t feel like you have to make all the traditional food with 100 per cent traditional recipes and ingredients.

Roast Turkey and Stuffing

Feel free to swap high calories ingredients out and put low calories ones in.  For example, you can use low-fat cheese, Greek yogurt vs sour cream, mustard vs mayo, applesauce vs oil, cinnamon vs sugar.

Most pumpkin pie recipes call for at least one cup of cream or evaporated whole milk and two eggs. Use evaporated skim milk and three egg whites to cut about 300 calories and 30 to 38 grams of fat from your pie.

Buy brown and serve bread rolls instead of the higher-fat crescent rolls to cut about 1100 extra calories and about 100 grams of fat per dozen.

Use light cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese in your dips, spreads and cheesecakes to cut about 16 grams of fat per cup of cream cheese.

Make a little less so the temptation is not so great to overeat.

Go easy on the gravy and opt for canned cranberry sauce on your turkey for a nutritious and fat-free option.

Replace the bread in your holiday stuffing with canned chestnuts, a nutritious and different alternative. To further lighten your stuffing and add valuable nutrients, mix in canned, chopped vegetables, too.

Serve meals in the kitchen instead of family-style on the table to avoid reaching for seconds out of convenience.

Put any leftovers in the freezer before sitting down ot eat so as not to be tempted for second helpings.

If you are baking for friends and family, spend a little extra time and money on individual packaging so you are less likely to dip into leftovers.

I hope these suggestions prove helpful to you in your holiday meal preparation. Please feel free to send in your own suggestions as well as substitutions.

You can read the entire Healthy Holiday eating series starting with Tips for Healthy holiday eating and scrolling backwards.

Happy and healthy holiday eating!

Tony

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Filed under chocolate, holiday eating, Weight

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips #4 – At Work

So far I have confined myself to holiday dining with family and friends, but the holiday season contains another diabolical source of bad food – the workplace.

A little personal anecdote here: I worked for a philanthropic organization for my final 10 years before retiring. Holiday time was a very happy period as we were deluged with huge tins of various kinds of popcorn, carmelcorn, kettle corn, etc. We would receive ten pound chocolate bars which were left in the break room with a knife for cutting off a piece. I’m sure it is no surprise to anyone that I weighed upwards of 180 pounds in those days compared with my low 150s now.

One of the reasons I no longer have a weight problem is the 180 degree change in my attitude toward food. I don’t think of food as a pleasure source in itself to be mindlessly consumed like I did as a child. I now think of food as a source of good health and fuel for my body and my activities. You can read further on Whether food is an end or a means in that blog post. I still enjoy the taste of food, but I don’t stop there.

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One way to look at office snacks is that those little Snickers Bars only amount to 100 calories. What’s the harm? The harm comes from eating a dozen of them for a total over 1000 calories, or more than half of your daily calorie budget of 2000 calories. As it takes 3500 calories to put a pound on your body weight, it wouldn’t take too many days of snacking like this to pack on some weight and waist.

Burning off the holiday treats

Burning off the holiday treats

Another way to look at it is: what do you need to do to burn off 1000 calories.
– One hour on the elliptical machine = 500 calories
– 60 minutes of lifting weights = 300 calories
– One hour of yard work, or stringing up holiday lights = 200 calories
– Or the equivalent of three hours of physical activity.

Maybe seeing the price you pay in physical activity to burn off a snack binge will help to put workplace holiday snacking into a clearer perspective for you.

Eat less; move more … and enjoy the holidays.

Tony

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Filed under chocolate, holiday eating, Weight