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Nutrition News: Holiday Strategies

Charlyn Fargo on

Holiday Strategies

Some would argue that the words "healthy" and "holidays" don't belong in the same sentence. I disagree. While the holidays may offer more temptation to overeat, they don't have to sabotage our efforts to eat healthy foods. Turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and green beans all fit into a healthy eating plan. The key is to eat all holiday foods in moderation.

It's true the average holiday meal can pack a calorie punch -- upwards of 1,750 calories per plate -- but it doesn't have to be that way. It adds up quickly: a serving of pumpkin pie is 350 calories; a 1-cup serving of mashed potatoes is 257 calories; a half-cup of cranberry sauce is 220 calories; a 1-cup serving of stuffing, 350 calories; an 8-ounce serving of turkey is 480 calories and a 6-ounce glass of wine, 120 calories.

Here are some strategies to keep overeating at bay:

No. 1: When you arrive, don't immediately head for the food. Constant nibbling and grazing can lead you to consume many calories before you even get to the meal.

No. 2: Just take one plate -- forget going back for seconds. On any other day, a full plate satisfies, and it will on Thanksgiving too.

 

No. 3: How to cut calories? Remove the skin on the turkey and eat the white meat. Whip your mashed potatoes with skim milk and roasted garlic. Instead of the traditional green bean casserole, enjoy fresh, steamed green beans topped with slivered almonds. Oven-bake your stuffing with sauteed onions and celery. Use whole cranberry sauce rather than jellied. Choose whole-wheat, high-fiber rolls, and slice that pumpkin pie into 10 pieces instead of eight.

No. 4: Look for lower calorie recipes -- bring a veggie or fruit tray if you can and flavor your sweet potatoes with apple juice and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

No. 5: Take a walk after you eat; it helps with digestion.

No. 6: Drink plenty of water.

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