Healthy Eating during the Holiday Season

As we prepare to enjoy the holidays with family and friends in the coming months, it’s likely that we’ll share in more than one hearty and potentially diet-busting meal.  WebMD reports that the average person will consume 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat during Thanksgiving alone!  To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of eating almost 23 original glazed Krispy Kreme donuts, or 50 slices of bacon – at one sitting!

If that fact has you feeling a little uncomfortable, there are many ways to enjoy the festivities without having to worry about your waistline.  Here are a few easy tips for keeping the calories in check during the holidays:

1. Substitute, substitute, substitute.
Substitute butter and other fats with low-calorie choices. To replace sugar, try fruits like non-sweetened applesauce, mashed yams, or natural replacements like stevia. Is salt a problem? Add more non-salt seasoning blends to a dish, or add more fragrant herbs such as rosemary and thyme.

2. Don’t forget fruits and veggies.
Fill up on the fiber. You will feel fuller longer, and will be less likely to indulge in simple sugars, the kind that adds inches to your waistline.

3. Drink a lot of water.
It’s recommended that an average person drink half their body weight in ounces of water a day. For example, a 150-pound woman should drink at least 75 ounces of water a day. Staying well-hydrated will help keep you from overeating.   

4. Skip the skin.
Although the crispy turkey skin is delicious, it’s also full of saturated fat.  Eat the white meat and avoid the skin to save calories and fat.

5. Consider increasing protein.
Protein keeps most of us feeling fuller longer. Lean meats, seafood, and dairy may be good alternatives to simple carbohydrates (like white bread and white potatoes, for example). Increasing protein consumption may reduce sugar spikes and cravings for foods that only provide temporary satiation.