The holidays are filled with joy and celebration, traditions and parties, families and friends, giving thanks and giving gifts…and also a plethora of delicious and comforting foods! Unfortunately many of our traditional holiday foods are stuffed with calories. We then tend to stuff ourselves with the enormous amounts of food and suddenly the holidays disappear leaving us looking down wishing that bulge below was a pillow stuffed down our shirt and not our holiday indiscretions.
With a little bit of planning and some self control, your stuffed holiday won’t include the extra weight. Here are some helpful hints to keep you healthy and happy during this holiday season.
Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating:
- Eat the white meat from the turkey because it has less fat and calories than dark meat.
Make sure to remove the skin before eating.
- Cook dressing on the stove and not inside the turkey.
- Serve baked sweet potatoes instead of candied yams.
- Fill your breadbasket with whole-wheat rolls instead of buttery rolls or croissants.
- Serve a large, festive salad with a low calorie dressing.
- Season steamed, fresh or frozen vegetables with herbs and low calorie margarine or
- Serve pumpkin or fruit pies because they have 50% fewer calories than pecan pies.
- Use some common recipe substitutes:
- Reduced calorie products such as soups and salad dressings
- Use a third less sugar or a sugar substitute in recipes
- Substitute two egg whites or an egg substitute for each egg in a recipe
- Use skim or 1% milk in recipes
- Substitute evaporated milk for cream and use fat-free sour cream
- Freeze food gifts and serve them later. Give away or freeze leftovers.
- Don’t abandon your exercise and activity plans. Try to incorporate activities into your
holiday event such as a nice long walk, outdoor games, caroling or dancing to music.
- Plan a non-food reward for maintaining your weight during the holiday.
- When going to a party, offer to bring a low-fat low calorie appetizer or dessert.
- Socialize at parties. Concentrate on enjoying the event and the people, not just the food.
- Avoid sitting next to the food tables and put holiday goods away quickly—out of sight,
out of mind.
- Don’t skip breakfast and lunch on a holiday. You’ll be less likely to binge at dinnertime.
Take the edge off your appetite by snacking on an apple or orange 30 minutes prior to the
- Don’t use holiday parties as an excuse to eat unlimited amounts of high fat and high
calorie foods. Set daily limits of calories for “pleasure foods.” These should be a part of any normal healthy diet.
- Certain medications do not mix well with alcohol, make sure you have your doctors okay before drinking. Drink in moderation.
Focus on one or two diabetes self-management goals during the holidays. You don’t have to be perfect or feel overwhelmed trying to keep up all your habits during the busy holidays.
If you get carried away and stuff yourself—forgive yourself. Start over the next day, eat a little less, exercise and be thankful that holidays come just once a year.
Many blessings and happy holidays from the Diabetes & Nutrition Services staff.