It's that time of the year again! The holidays can be a fun, exciting time – a time to enjoy the company of family, friends and your favorite foods. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a healthy holiday season.
When planning and preparing for your holiday gatherings, be sure breakfast is part of the plan. Those who consume breakfast tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day.
Start your day with a small meal of whole wheat toast with low fat cheese or peanut butter, or oatmeal prepared with skim or low fat milk, sliced almonds, walnuts or fruit. These foods contain fiber and tend to be higher in volume, but lower in calories, to help satisfy hunger for longer periods of time.
If avoiding buffet-style dining is not an option, remember this: even foods perceived as healthy still have calories. Have a broth-type soup or salad with low fat dressing before your meal to help consume fewer calories. Use smaller plates to help with portion control; fill half your plate with vegetables and one-quarter of your plate with low fat protein, such as lean cuts of baked or broiled meats and meat alternatives. Eat slowly and wait at least 10 minutes before choosing and enjoying dessert.
Plan ahead. When dining at a restaurant, check the menu ahead of time. Know what you are going to order prior to arriving. If the menu is not available online, make your choice and stick with it once you have reached your destination.
When hosting a gathering, find recipes you can prepare in advance so you are not making everything the day of the event. Pay attention to what you are drinking, as those calories quickly add up. To celebrate the season, make a low calorie cocktail like apple cider. Offer healthy party appetizers, such as stuffed mushrooms with spinach, fruit salad, hummus with vegetables, stuffed dates and celery.
Enjoy the scents of the season with candles, pine cones, spiced apples and fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme. Set the stage for a relaxing enjoyable holiday season.
Remember, no food is off limits when consumed in moderation, and planning ahead will help you stay on track.
Learn more about the hospital’s nutrition counseling services.
Deborah Dembeck is a registered dietitian nutritionist at Carroll Hospital Center.