Ah, the holidays are here which means parties, friends and family and yes lots and lots of eating! If you are anything like me you don’t want to miss out on anything, or put on extra pounds. I chatted with my friend Helen who is a registered dietitian and asked for her input on how to go about eating healthy through the holidays. She has some useful tips as well as delicious recipes to consider when you prepare your holiday menus.
- During the holiday season, how do you enjoy your favorites without guilt? Check out Helen’s answer on her site at Professional Nutrition Consulting These are great tips that we can all follow easily without giving up our favorites foods.
- What are some holiday favorites that can be tweaked to create a healthy version?
Plain Greek yogurt is a perfect baking substitute for butter, oil, and cream cheese (i.e. use 1 cup plain yogurt = 1 cup oil). The yogurt adds nutrients without sacrificing the flavor.
- What holiday favorites are the biggest offenders in terms of calories, fat, sugar?
Unfortunately, some of our favorites:“Stuffing, gravy, sauces, pie, flavored coffee, wine, and beer servings can add up quickly.” Do keep in mind Helen’s mantra of “watching your portions” That said, go ahead and whip up that Irish coffee you’ve been thinking about, but keep it to just one!
- Can you name two or three ingredients that should be avoided?
Helen’s answer is music to my ears: “No need to avoid your favorite dishes. Make sure you keep portions in check. Eat and enjoy until you are satisfied and not full.” This is so important since so many of us just eat until we are full and uncomfortable. The dish above Pork Chops with Morel Mushroom Sauce is a perfect example for eating a small portion, and leaving it at that.
- In your opinion what is an ideal holiday menu, start to finish?
Great answer and one that is fitting from a registered dietitian: “A menu that encompasses a variety of foods from all the food groups is ideal. Holiday meals are to be celebrated with family and friends. We should be coloring our plates every day of the year!”
- Could you recommend a favorite holiday dessert that is guilt free yet full of flavor?
In regards to this, Helen and I are of the same mindset regarding moderation. “I believe desserts are meant to be enjoyed. In order to avoid feeling guilty, I make sure to be mindful of my portions during the holiday meal. Eating a healthy balance of nutrient dense foods while being mindful of portion sizes leaves plenty of room for a guilt-free dessert.” I totally agree! The Tarte Normande above is a simple dessert without too much sugar.
- Any recommendation for the picky eater? an appetizer, perhaps a side dish?
“It can be difficult to satisfy everyone. Providing options for the pickiest of eaters is the best we can do.” Sometimes, the simpler the better. A quick and easy marinara with pasta may be the answer.
Eating healthy through the holidays is not as hard as we think. All we need are just a few pointers, and we are well on our way to enjoying great times with friends and family without feeling too guilty. Thanks Helen for giving my readers some great advice on eating healthy through the holidays!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!