Local dietitians offer tips to eat right this holiday season
November 24, 2013
10 tips for dining well during the holidays
- In preparation for a big holiday party or feast, do not skip meals throughout the day as this may result in overeating.
- It is especially important to have breakfast as research shows that those who eat this important morning meal tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day.
- Include fiber in your diet by eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains. High-fiber foods are high in volume and will satisfy hunger, but they are lower in calories.
- At buffet-style holiday meals, a common mistake is eating large portions of foods that are perceived as healthy. It’s important to eat moderate serving sizes of all your favorites. Using this approach at the holiday dinner table will allow you to maintain a healthful eating plan — one that also can include dessert. Take one plate full and wait for dessert rather than returning for second and third helpings.
- Start by filling your plate with vegetables and salad before going to the entrees and desserts. Eating a salad before your meal can help you eat fewer calories overall.
- Eat your protein on your plate before the starches. This will stave off your urge to overeat the sweet potatoes, stuffing and other rich side dishes in large amounts.
- Eat slowly and savor every bite. Before you go back for seconds, wait ten minutes to see if you really are still hungry.
- Don’t drink your calories. Filling up on juices, ciders and sodas is a way to increase unwanted calories. Have them in moderation or try sparkling waters with fruit pieces, which make a refreshing, thirst-quenching beverage that looks festive and fun.
- After dinner, get some physical activity. This is a great time to go for a walk and catch up with family members, or you can play catch or a game of basketball with the kids.
- Have some of your favorites — it’s the holidays after all — but have a strategy that let’s you have fun food memories without the feeling of being stuffed and unable to move.
— Nancy Cohen
Tips for cooking healthier entrees during the holidays
Sweet Potato Pie
The old way: Processed marshmallows, canned pineapple and heavy cream.
A new twist: Bake the sweet potatoes then mash with coconut milk, curry paste and seasoning.
The old way: Processed boxed or bagged stuffing, processed sausage or too much meat, a lack of veggies and no heart-healthy fats.
A new twist: Use real bread, maybe even homemade or gluten-free, day-old bread, add in seasonal veggies like celery, shitakes, carrots, leeks, apples and onions. Use olive oil, and add walnuts. If you want some extra protein, you can add turkey sausage or local elk sausage. Look for local ingredients and remember that a little goes a long way with meat.
Macoroni and cheese
The old way: Filled with cheese, no veggies, lots of empty carbs.
A new twist: Quinoa, butternut squash, cranberry and pecans. Loaded with whole grains, gluten-free, vitamin rich squash, antioxidant rich berries and healthy fat-rich nuts. Add some blue cheese or feta if you want.
Green bean casserole
The old way: Canned green beans chemically treated, fried processed onion crumbs with trans fats.
A new twist: Glazed green beans and portobellos. Fresh green beans, mushrooms, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Make your own crumble for the top by sauteing leeks in olive oil and adding homemade whole wheat or gluten-free bread crumbs.
The old way: Pumpkin pie with a big, Crisco crust.
A new twist: Add a healthy crust by lining the pie tin with a mixture of melted coconut oil, almond, cinnamon and flax meal. The carbohydrates from the pumpkin is enough, and this way you add healthy fats and proteins
— Cara Marrs