How to Enjoy the Holidays without Adding on Extra Pounds


It’s that time of year again! The time when we get together with friends and family and eat way too much food which in turn leads to weight gain and setting New Year’s resolutions to lose that weight. On average, Americans gain approximately one to two pounds during the holidays which doesn’t seem like a lot but most Americans don’t lose this weight after the holidays and year after year it can add up. Here are some tips and a few healthy recipe ideas to help you make the holidays friendlier on your waist!

  1. Don’t let food sit out all day long. Not only can this be a food safety issue but it can lead to grazing which can lead to overeating.
  2. Choose healthier side dishes such as brown rice, raw fruits and vegetables, salad, mashed cauliflower, or sweet potatoes.
  3. Do not skip a meal or snack in anticipation of eating one large meal for the day. This could lead to extreme hunger and eating way too much at that one meal.
  4. Use a smaller plate and don’t go back for seconds. This way you have less plate to fill up which can lead to eating less food.
  5. Eat around the company of others. It takes our brains about 20 minutes to signal to our stomach that we are full and should stop eating. When we don’t practice mindful eating habits, like eating in front of the TV, we tend to overeat because we finish a meal before 20 minutes.
  6. Make healthy substitutions in recipes which can save on calories, fat, and carbohydrates. Use margarine instead of butter, use egg whites or an egg substitute in place of regular eggs, use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, or use applesauce instead of oil in baking.
  7. Try to get some activity during the day, even if it is just 10 minutes. Go for a walk around the block, actively play with your kids or grandkids, or take the dog outside to play fetch.
  8. Use leftovers from holiday parties to make healthy meal or snack the next day. Some samples include: a smoothie made from leftover fruit or a wrap made with leftover vegetables and meat.

With little steps we can help avoid holiday weight gain. Try one of these healthy side dishes at your next holiday get-together!

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
Makes: 6 servings

6 large portabella mushrooms, stems chopped and reserved
1 cup chopped onion
¾ cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon light buttery spread
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
One 6-oz box of Stove Top cornbread stuffing mix

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place mushroom caps on the baking sheet, rounded sides down. Bake until slightly tender, about 8 minutes. Remove sheet, but leave oven on. Blot away excess moisture from mushroom caps. Bring a medium pot sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and mushroom stems. Cook and stir until slightly softened and lightly browned, about 6 – 8 minutes. Transfer cooked veggies to a bowl. Add butter and 1 1/2 cups water to the (empty) pot, and bring to a boil. Once water boils, remove from heat. Add stuffing mix, cooked veggies, and dried cranberries. Mix until water has absorbed. Distribute stuffing mixture among the mushroom caps. Bake until slightly crisp on top, about 12 minutes.

Nutrition Information: 188 calories, 2.5 g total fat, 449 mg sodium, 38.5 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 6.5 g protein

Special Spinach Salad
Makes: 6 servings (about 1 cup each)
1 pkg. (6 oz.) baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup Traditional crumbled feta cheese
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
3 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Directions: Toss spinach with all remaining ingredients except dressing in large bowl. Add dressing just before serving; mix lightly.

Nutrition Information: 113 calories, 7.7 g total fat, 368 mg sodium, 7.3 g carbs, 1.4 g fiber, 3.7 g protein

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