The holidays should be a special time of year spent with family and friends. Indulging in family recipes and traditional treats is alright, as long as the rule of moderation is kept in mind. Mix healthy options in with the traditional holiday treats for your meals, appetizers and snacks. Keep in mind that you still need to eat your optimal servings of protein, fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats every day. Ensuring that you are getting in the required nutrition daily, will help you stick to eating treats and rich foods in small portions, it will also decrease cravings. Enjoy the below cooking and behavior strategies and recipes to ensure you will have a healthy holiday while managing your weight.
Food/ Meal Tips –
- For a wonderful flavor enhancer, sprinkle roasted vegetables with vinegar or citrus juice with a dash of olive oil. Add it at the last minute so the flavor is at its strongest.
- Substitute chopped vegetables for some of the bread in your stuffing recipe, this will reduce the amount of carbohydrates in the stuffing, therefore reducing the glycemic load.
- If you are going to drink alcohol, alternate the beverages with water, this will keep you hydrated and may curb the increase in appetite from excessive alcohol.
- Make sure you include protein and vegetables as your appetizers and throughout the main meal. The protein from meat and fiber from the vegetables will keep you feeling full and avoid binging on excessive sugars and carbohydrates.
- When choosing cocktails, aim for non-calorie mixers like sparkling water with the juice or limes or lemons, rather than heavily sweetened juices or syrup based mixers.
Behavior Tips –
- Don’t starve yourself the day of the party so you can fill up on food that evening. If you eat healthy normal meals throughout the day, you’re much less likely to overeat at the party.
- Remember: The point of holiday gatherings is to celebrate, not to eat. Mingle with friends and loved ones, instead of hovering around the buffet table. Grab a plate and walk away.
- Don’t load up at the buffet table. Keep portion sizes small by putting your snacks on a small plate instead of a large one and limiting your trips to the buffet.
- Prioritize your food choices, if you love sweet potato casserole, take a serving of that but skip the stuffing if it is something that you don’t have to have.
- Present food in various locations all over your home to encourage activities and mingling, not just eating.
- Remain active throughout the holidays, maintaining lean muscle mass from strength training and cardiovascular activity will help keep your metabolic rate (calories burned at rest) high to offset the extra calories from the holiday treats.
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
A great alternative to regular mashed potatoes, lower in carbohydrates, which will keep blood sugars regulated. Still very tasty and much lower in calories.
1 large head cauliflower
5 large garlic cloves
Sea salt to taste
2 tbs. butter
1 tbs. fresh chives
Ground black pepper to taste
1. Chop cauliflower into large chunks.
2. Steam until soft (able to smash with a fork)
3. Add butter and salt
4. Blend until smooth with hand mixer
5. Top with chives and black pepper
Chocolate Almond or Peanut Butter Cups
These are a festive sweet treat option that is rich in healthy fats from the nut butter and antioxidants from the dark chocolate. Compared to the traditional mainstream candy option, these are far less processed and contain all natural ingredients.
3/4 cup of all natural peanut, almond or sun butter
2 tablespoons local honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup of coconut oil or melted organic butter if you are not fond of coconut oil
4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
2-4 tablespoons honey
1. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter, coconut oil or butter, vanilla, first 2 tablespoons honey. Mix until well combined.
2. Drop by the heaping teaspoon into mini liners in cupcake pans. Place in freezer.
3. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in the top of a double broiler. Mix in the honey. Bring about ¼ of the pot of water to a boil and place the bowl on top.
Watch the chocolate carefully so that it doesn’t burn, stirring gently while the chocolate melts. When there are just a few chunks left in the chocolate, take off of the heat and allow it to melt completely.
4. Drop by the teaspoon over the peanut butter mixture and place back into the freezer. Freeze for 20 minutes. Take out; keep in the freezer or refrigerator.
This is a preview to an article that will be featured in South Asian Woman Magazine. Check back for a link to the full article.
Dr. Kantor’s greatly anticipated new children’s book, The Green Box League of Nutritious Justice, is now available. Be sure to order this highly reviewed book, filled with healthy living tips for the whole family. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.