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Top 10 Ways to Make the Holiday Healthier

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region | 0 comments

Lynea Albers, RD

Lynea Albers, RD

The holiday season brings quality time with friends, family and food. The season can also bring unwanted extra pounds from indulging in rich foods and larger portions, says Lynea Albers, Registered Dietitian with Sutter Options for Success, a program for weight loss that teaches strategies for a healthy lifestyle. However, Albers says that by using a few simple strategies, you can enjoy your holidays and all of the trimmings without gaining weight.

Below are Albers’ top 10 recommendations on making the holiday a healthy one.

1. Modify recipes! Replace the eggs, cheese, and high-fat meats in your holiday dishes with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and spices.  This can help to save hundreds of calories in just a few bites!  Be smart about your replacements. For example, it would be counterproductive to replace meat with eggs or eggs with cheese because these are all high-fat, high-calorie foods.

2. Be aware of stress eating!  Don’t let the holiday stress change your food choices.  Eat for the reason of nourishment, not stress or anxiousness.  Be sure and get plenty of rest and exercise to help fight stress.  It’s also a good idea to be aware of which stress reduction methods work for you (like deep breathing or listening to music).

3. Reduce snacking!  Many people consume way too many empty calories before the main event even starts. Avoid the mixed nut dish and cheese and cracker tray. Instead, help the host by bringing a fruit and/or vegetable platter for everyone to enjoy.

4. Focus on plants!  Vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole grains are naturally low in fat and high in nutrients.  Use these more often in your holiday recipes.

5. Get a healthy start! Be sure to eat healthy meals and snacks before the main meal.  Also, be sure and start the holiday meal with a simple vegetable soup or green salad to pack in more nutrients.

6. Limit alcohol!  Avoid drinking until your entrée is in front of you.  Before dinner starts, sip on sparkling water, coffee or tea.  This will save hundreds of calories and allow you to make healthier selections for dinner.   (Alcohol can impair your ability to make healthy choices and recognize when you feel satisfied).

7. Skip the second helpings!  Wait at least 20 minutes before grabbing for seconds.  This gives your brain a chance sense the hormones that signal your fullness/satiety.

8. Indulge, but use small portions.  If you opt to eat foods that are high in fat or added sugar, cut back on the portion size.  Try using a dessert plate for those buffet style parties to help cut back on portion sizes.

9. Be more active!  You are bound to eat a few extra calories during the holidays, so be sure and make it a point to stick to a regular exercise routine.

10. Don’t dwell on the holiday meal!  It’s okay to allow yourself to splurge a bit on holiday meals, but that does not mean we should splurge for an entire day, week, or month!  Make sure you get right back on track with healthy eating and exercise at the very next opportunity.

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region | 0 comments