I recently answered questions from Cafe Mom about how to manage a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying the holidays. This is a preview, check back for the full article.
Try to focus on the good company of friends/family rather than the food. Avoid socializing and lingering around the appetizers. Go to the party with a plan of eating light appetizers and a balanced dinner high in fiber from mainly vegetables and rich in protein from the main course meat option. If you are worried that the host will not have any healthy options bring your own, a tossed salad or vegetable tray with hummus. Make sure that you have a normal day of eating both breakfast and lunch before the party. Skipping meals to “save” calories can result in poor self-control and excessive consumption of unhealthy appetizer, drink and main course options. Take a Chromium supplement an hour or so before the party, chromium has been shown to decrease cravings especially carbohydrates and sugars.
2. What to do when you’re having a special holiday dinner at friends’ house?
Try to help plan out a healthy menu. Get creative with healthy holiday appetizers, use raw slices of vegetables like cucumbers instead of crackers or chips for dips. Ensure that the main course is balanced, a blend of fibrous vegetables, protein and complex carbohydrates. Avoid adding excessive amounts of butter and flours to casseroles, instead roast vegetables in the oven with some herbs and olive oil for the same delicious flavor and less calories.
3. How do you managing drinking?
Opt for drinks like wine, light beer or liquor that does not require sugary mixers. Avoid drinking cocktails made with juice, or syrup based mixers. Also try to alternate alcoholic beverages with a glass of water to ensure adequate hydration and avoid excessive consumption.
4. Where are a lot of empty/bad calories coming from?
Most empty calories come from cocktails and appetizers. One appetizer plate loaded with cheese, crackers and sausage can exceed 400 calories, before you even sit down to dinner.
5. What are some healthy swaps?
Raw vegetables instead of crackers or chips, hummus instead of a cheese or sour cream based dip, roasted vegetables instead of creamy vegetable casserole, and grilled or roasted meats instead of fried options.
6. What are some pitfalls you need to avoid?
Avoid skipping meals to “save” calories up for the party, this typically results in binge eating. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, being “drunk” can release inhibitions also resulting in binge eating.
7. What are some things you should do to stay full, but healthy?
Make sure that you are properly hydrated over the course of the day, fill up on fibrous vegetables, make sure to eat a meal rich in protein to avoid consuming excessive starches/ carbohydrates.
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.