How Not Overeat This Holiday Season
by Lisa Metzgar, Nutritionist
I am going to take a break from eating our ABC’s this month to talk about the dreaded holiday eating dilemma. Tis’ the season the put on a few extra pounds?
Not necessarily. It is all about choices and you don’t have to give up all the yumminess of the holidays to keep those pounds off.
One thing that I counsel my clients on is there is always a healthy alternative to any of the unhealthy options out there and you don’t really have to give up anything. If you make the right choices more than 80% of the time you can have those sweet little vices and it won’t harm you.
Remember it is the little choices you make most of the time that determines how healthy you are. Also, when you are making healthy choices the majority of the time, then you really don’t crave the unhealthy stuff. Feeling good, having energy, maintaining a healthy weight makes you want to continue making healthy choices.
You will find that once your system cleans out, you won’t want to make the unhealthy choices because you will notice that they don’t make you feel very good.
Here are some healthy alternatives for your holiday eating
Eat as many vegetables as possible. If you load up on vegetables you will be too full to eat all the rich foods. Make ¾ of your plate vegetables. There are all kinds of fun holiday recipes online for vegetable dishes. Here are some ideas for vegetable choices Of course, I am going to put broccoli at the top of my list because there is so much benefit to eating this superfood! My daughter has come to expect at least 4 days of the week there will be broccoli involved in meals. Other wonderful choices to add to your classic holiday meals are green beans, portabella mushrooms, artichokes, squashes, zucchini, cole slaws, and salads. Salads are wonderful because you can do so much with them. Add legumes, cranberries, nuts, and cheeses to add a variety of wonderful flavors and textures.
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Eliminate anything white in your meals. Substitute mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes have a much lower glycemic index (how much the blood glucose levels are raised after eating) than classic white potatoes. Instead of traditional bread stuffings try bulgar wheat, lentils, or squash. There are lots of alternative recipes online for creative and healthy stuffings. Replace white sugar with stevia or agave in your holiday sweets. These two alternatives have little or no effect on raising your blood sugars. You will avoid the holiday crash if you stay away from the sugar-loaded sweet treats.
A few alternatives to holiday baking:
- Dates wrapped in prosciutto. The sweet and the salty are a very yummy balance. The dates contain fiber and the prosciutto adds just a little protein to keep the blood sugars more balanced.
- Try making a pear and cranberry chutney,
- o rice pudding with fruit.
- Baked apples are especially yummy with almonds again adding a little bit of fat and protein for a healthier balance.
- Fruit is always a wonderful choice for something sweet as it is the more natural choice. Again look online for fabulous recipes using fruit for the holidays. If you really want something rich and chocolaty, choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and less sugar than mild chocolate. It only takes a small amount to satisfy that chocolate craving.
Nuts are always a good choice for snacks. A small handful of nuts adds healthy fats, good proteins, and fiber making for a very satisfying snack. Roasted nuts like pecans and almonds with warm holiday spices are a nice little treat.
Choose lean proteins like turkey, chicken, wild salmon, or lean pork for your meat dishes. There are also many vegetarian options for your main dish like legumes, lentils, tabbouleh (cracked wheat), bulgur wheat, or stuffed squash.
Try starting new traditions this year.
There are so many ways to enjoy your holiday eating and make it healthy!
Have a wonderful Christmas! See you next year!
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LisaMetzgar, PhD,she received her BA in Biology from UCSD, is a certified Holistic Health Practitioner, and received her Ph.D. in Holistic Nutrition.
Lisa has taught body mind retreats in San Diego, Seattle, and Australia and currently has a practice in Reno, NV where she does nutrition counseling.Lisa's passion is to educate families about a healthy lifestyle.
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