Staying Healthy over the Holidays

Written by Guest Nutritionist Casey Simmons:

Hi FH fans! I am back once more to share some healthy holiday habits with you! While this is wonderful time of year…it is also filled with wonderful temptations! When deciding whether to be naughty or nice, you may want to consider some healthy swaps and foods to stay away from during the holiday season. Let’s be realistic, the holidays are not a time to try to lose weight. Instead, your goal should be to maintain your current weight. To do this, there are definitely some steps you should follow:

  1. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.  Enjoy your favorite holiday foods by eating small portions, sitting comfortably, and taking your time to eat and enjoy each bite. It takes the body 20 minutes to realize that it is eating, so the quicker you eat, the more food your body will think it needs in order to be satisfied.
  2. Take the focus off food. Turn candy and cookie-making time into non-edible projects like making wreaths, dough art decorations or holiday jewelry. If you must cook, practice healthy holiday cooking by preparing favorite dishes lower in fat and calories that will help promote healthy holiday eating.
  3. Never skip meals. Before leaving for an event, eat a light snack like raw vegetables, a handful of raw nuts, or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less likely to over-indulge while at the event.
  4. Watch out for beverages! Alcohol lessens inhibitions and induces overeating while certain non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.  I suggest replacing 2 ounces of wine with club soda. A 5-ounce glass of red or white wine has on average 150 calories; club soda has 0. Replacing just two ounces of the wine already saves you 60 calories toward another slice of pie.
  5. Skip the casseroles and eat fresh green beans! Add some slivered almonds for extra crunch and you’ll still be saving at least 40 calories per half-cup serving and the almonds will help fill you up and control your cravings for sweets later on.
  6. Say goodbye to Eggnog, and hello to cider! A glass of eggnog can easily have 250 calories, and more than half of your daily-recommended dose of saturated fat. Swap eggnog for a glass of hot apple cider and instantly save 100 to 150 calories and all of the fat!
  7. We all love our holiday pies, but exactly which ones cause unwanted thighs?! Pecan pie is one of the highest calorie pies with about 500 calories a slice (ouch!) followed by Cherry pie with approx. 450 calories a slice. Improving somewhat with Apple pie at 400 calories a slice but your safest bet is Pumpkin pie! Because of its naturally creamy, high-fiber pumpkin puree ingredient, this holiday classic is the best of the bunch coming in at approx. 300 calories a slice and saving many grams of saturated fat!

I hope you all have an amazing holiday and keep that motivation high so you can look fabulous in that beautiful New Year’s dress I know you already have hanging in your closet! Next article I will be featuring a series of quick, at-home (or hotel room friendly) exercises you can do so you don’t end up looking like Santa by the end of the holidays!

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