It happens every year: as the holidays creep closer and closer, healthy eaters and dieters start shaking in their boots at the thought of having to deal with sticking to their healthy eating habits in the midst of holiday parties and buffets. Between cheesy casseroles, creamy dips and sugary pies, cakes and cookies, the holidays typically involve a lot of temptation for anyone trying to eat nutritiously.
If you’re one of these people, though, don’t start stressing out just yet! Just because you want to stay healthy this holiday season doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself too strictly by any means. Instead of only sticking to salad this Thanksgiving, simply keep some healthy tips like these in the back of your mind so that you don’t overdo it on the calories but also don’t miss out on any Thanksgiving fun:
Choose White Meat over Dark
Turkey tends to make an appearance at almost every holiday event, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, so it’s important to know how to eat it in the healthiest way. When in doubt, choose white meat over dark meat for lower calories and less saturated fat. Don’t eat the skin and go easy on the gravy to keep your meal lean and low-fat.
Keep Your Plate Colorful
When you’re lining up for the dinner buffet, choose the brighter, more colorful foods first. The more colorful your plate, the healthier your food tends to be. Load up on bright fruits and vegetables before reaching for the bland-colored carbs and meats; if your plate is full of nutritious foods, you’ll have less room for the unhealthy dishes, too. Also, the smaller your plate, the less likely you’ll be to go overboard on portion control.
Snack Before You Socialize
Going to someone’s house hungry is one of the easiest ways to overeat at holiday events. To prevent yourself from overdoing it at the snack table, munch on some nuts or whole grain pita chips before you leave home. This way, you’ll be less likely to stuff yourself with unhealthier party food options once you get there.
Position Yourself Strategically
Another easy trick to avoid going overboard on appetizers and holiday food is to intentionally position yourself away from the food while you’re chatting with family and friends. If you’re next to something tempting, it’s easy to start munching away on it without even realizing how much or what exactly you’re eating. Not being directly next to the food will help prevent mindless snacking and unnecessary calories and fat, keeping you healthier this holiday season.
Cook with Healthy Substitutions
If you’re doing the cooking for your holiday meal then you have a great chance to add some nutrition to traditionally unhealthy dishes. Use sneaky ingredient substitutions to cut calories and fat from all sorts of dishes—your guests are guaranteed to not even notice. Use almonds instead of fried onions on your green bean casserole, applesauce instead of oil in your bread and Greek frozen yogurt instead of ice cream on top of your pies. Your food will still taste great without being too unhealthy.
Limit Your Drinking
At holiday parties and family get-togethers, it’s not unusual for there to be copious amounts of alcohol. While a little bit of wine is hardly the end of the world, indulging in too much alcohol will cause your calorie content to skyrocket from liquids alone. Stick to one or two drinks to keep your calories—and yourself—in control.
There’s no reason to dread the holiday eating season if you’ve armed yourself with healthy knowledge beforehand. As long as you’re aware of what’s good and not so good for your body and maintain a small amount of will power, you’ll be sure to make it through the holidays healthy and happy.
Post by: Meredith Kimelblatt
Meredith K. writes on behalf of Healthy Choice®. For healthy options like pasta bakes and steamed entrees to get you through the holiday season, visit www.healthychoice.com.