(Baptist Health Kristen Shores, MS, RDN, LD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Baptist Health Weight and Nutrition Center) – As the holidays approach, social events with family and friends, along with platters of rich and delicious seasonal foods, become numerous. You have plenty of options if you are hosting a gathering this holiday season and want to lighten up your offerings without sacrificing taste.
Try swapping out a few ingredients in your favorite recipes:
- Use low-sodium vegetable broth in your mashed potatoes to add flavor and cut back on butter or margarine.
- Substitute applesauce for oil, margarine, or butter in muffins and quick bread such as banana bread. Try substituting a small amount at first, as too much may change the texture of the finished product.
- Try sliced or slivered almonds as a delicious, crunchy topping in place of fried onion rings.
- Choose reduced-fat or fat-free cheeses for salads and casseroles.
- For dips, sauces, and casseroles, swap sour cream and mayonnaise for non or low fat
Greek yogurt to reduce calories and fat and add protein.
Be proactive. Pack your shopping cart with plenty of fresh produce, including sweet potatoes, winter squash, broccoli, carrots and green beans. Apples, fresh cranberries and pears combine easily for a tasty salad, fruit crisp or topping for the turkey.
Other Holiday Tips:
- If you’re worried about not having good choices at the event, be proactive and bring a healthy side.
- Make sure you get your exercise on the days you have a social event. Take a walk or play an outside game with your family!
- Don’t drink your calories. Avoid sodas, sugary beverages and alcohol. Instead, drink water before, during and after each meal.
- When you have dessert or sweets, practice portion control and keep serving size small.
Pair the desserts with a meal or with a protein source.
- Do NOT fast all day and “save up” calories for one meal. Instead, eat regularly and consistently to avoid overeating.
- It’s okay to say no to more food and sweets.
A healthy and sustainable diet can be maintained even throughout the holidays. Be mindful of what you put on your plate and do your best to maintain a good balance. At the end of the day, you still may “fall off plan” over the holidays but don’t feel defeated and let it ruin the progress you have made. Have a good time with your family and friends, and follow these guidelines to the best of your ability.
Modified from the Holiday Eating Guide created by registered dietitians at Baptist Health