The holidays are often the time where friends and family come together to celebrate time-honored traditions which are usually filled with family recipes of the most rich and high calorie foods and …
The holidays are often the time where friends and family come together to celebrate time-honored traditions which are usually filled with family recipes of the most rich and high calorie foods and desserts.
On average Americans gain about one to two pounds during the holiday season and while this may not seem like much it can definitely add up over the years if not prevented or maintained. As you plan your celebration this holiday season think of little changes that you can make to create healthier holiday meals and avoid that unwanted weight gain.
Most traditional holiday recipes call for large amounts of fats and sugars so think about ways you can substitute these ingredients before your recipe even arrives at the dinner table. Using low-fat versions of dairy products can be a good place to start. Try switching out whole milk for skim or sour cream for fat-free plain yogurt in recipes. If you are doing a lot of baking, try replacing half of the butter or shortening in your recipe with unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas. You can also reduce the amount of sugar in many recipes by one-fourth to one-third. There are many ways that you can modify your favorite holiday recipe and keep the flavor.
Many of us feel like we need to save our appetite for our big holiday feast but skipping meals may result in overeating. Don’t arrive on an empty stomach. Eating a small meal or snack prior to the event and remembering not to skip breakfast may actually help save you some excess calories. Other strategies like using a smaller dinner plate to encourage smaller portion sizes, eating slowly, and trying to avoid large quantities of alcohol and snacks will help save you from unnecessary calories.
During the holiday season we tend to linger at the dinner table or in the kitchen which can tempt us to continue eating even if we are not hungry. Remember to stay at the table long enough to enjoy your meal but try to relocate to the social gathering before you dive in for seconds or thirds. Make being active part of your holiday tradition. Having fun by walking and talking with friends and family members is a great way to socialize away from the dinner table and burn excess calories.
Remember that the holidays are meant to be enjoyed so savor every bite of your delicious holiday foods and remember moderation is the key to prevent you from becoming overstuffed.
For more healthy holiday eating ideas contact Annie Sheldon at the University of Florida/IFAS Extension Clay County at (904) 284-6355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.