The holidays can be a challenging time for those of us trying to eat healthy, BUT can’t say no to the pumpkin pie. As a dietitian and food lover, I am ALL about enjoying the holidays and foods you love – and you can certainly can do so, guilt-free.
Tip 1: Don’t arrive to the party on an empty stomach
If may seem that if we avoid eating all day that will give us free rein to feast later on. However, studies actually show this can backfire and lead to overeating. Before an event you want to focus on having a balanced snack containing fiber and protein — think hummus and veggies, fruit and nuts, or even a vegetable-based soup. These options won’t completely fill you up, but also won’t keep you starving causing you to overdo it on chips and dip at the party before the main course.
Tip 2: Choose healthier versions of classic favorites so you don’t feel deprived
My second tip is to choose healthier versions of classic favorites that way you never feel deprived. For instance — one thing that is a non-negotiable for so many holiday dishes is bacon! Many of us aren’t willing to give it up so easily so really its about focusing on the quality of bacon that you choose. Applegate’s Sunday Morning Bacon is my go-to. Their meats are great because they are from humanely raised animals that are never administered antibiotics or hormones. They also have no chemical nitrates or preservatives. Just clean and simple ingredients. So if you are going to use bacon, this would be the one to use in your holiday dishes.
Tip 3: Don’t drink your calories
Holiday beverages can pack a lot of empty calories that we may not be aware of. For instance eggnog and peppermint mochas can pack about 300 calories a cup, which is equivalent to a slice of pumpkin pie or even a small dinner. I personally love making my own holiday drinks using 0 calorie sparkling beverages for flavor instead of sugar or syrups. This is a white wine spritzer I like to make — you add white wine, zero calorie flavored sparkling water with a sprig of rosemary and cranberries for a festive touch. You can sip on this throughout the party and still fell festive without worrying about overdoing it.
Tip 4: Eat what you love, leave what you like
Last but not least, eat what you love and leave what you like.Many of us may think that because it’s the holidays we should indulge in some eggnog or pumpkin pie, but we should stop and ask ourselves if we really actually enjoy it or are just eating it because its there. My rule of thumb is to gravitate towards homemade foods, the ones you know you can’t buy in the grocery store. They somehow taste better knowing friends or family made them and they’re typically healthier than store-bought dishes. So for me, pumpkin pie is something I look forward to every year but egg nog is something I can pass on.
Watch the whole segment at CBS WSPA-TV!