Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
It’s no secret: the holidays are centered around food. With the vast amounts of delicious cuisine available in November and December, it is easy to gain a few pounds here and there if you don’t pay attention. However, there are easy ways you can cut back on fatty and sugary foods while still enjoying the holiday season. Here are five tips for avoiding extra holiday calories.
Stick to skinless white turkey meat and roasted vegetables such as Brussels sprouts. A 120-gram portion of white, skinless turkey meat has 16 percent fewer calories and 55 percent less fat than skinless dark meat. You can indulge in some of the higher calorie foods like casseroles, potatoes, and desserts, just remember less is more.
Go for Real Cranberries
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cranberries have more antioxidants than almost all of the most common fruits. However, avoid canned cranberries, which contain a lot of sugar and calories. Instead, make your own cranberry sauce by cooking and mashing fresh cranberries and mixing them with balsamic vinegar or apple juice concentrate.
Serve Food Differently
When hosting holiday meals, consider using smaller plates and serving spoons. Guests will likely still indulge—it’s Thanksgiving after all. Additionally, serve your Thanksgiving meal in a separate room from where you’ll actually be eating. People tend to eat more with serving dishes sitting in front of them.
Trim the Fat
Some traditional Thanksgiving foods are high in fat, but there are a few easy things you can do to cut back. Low-fat buttermilk or low-sodium chicken stock in place of cream or whole milk in mashed potatoes, whipped sweet potatoes, or butternut squash cuts empty calories and still offers great taste.
Don’t Forget the Unappreciated Pumpkin
Pumpkin is a low-fat, low-calorie food with potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. When making a pumpkin pie, use fresh pumpkin purée from a local farm, canned evaporated fat-free milk, and half the sugar called for in the recipe. Top the pie with light or fat-free whipped cream.
In the end, finding the right ways to have a healthy holiday will look differently for everyone. Remember, while weight gain is always a fear during the holidays, it shouldn’t completely stop you from enjoying the delicious food and family recipes that are the foundations for an enjoyable season. After all, Arden Hills is here daily to help you sweat off the extra pounds. Make your workouts a priority between holiday parties. You’ll be amazed at how much consistent exercise can help avoid holiday weight gain.
-Guest Author Ashley Peabody