Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Healthy Eating During the Holidays,
The average American adult gains 1-2 pounds over the holiday season. Americans also eat more than 22 million pounds of turkey each holiday season! With those alarming statistics, try these tips for healthy eating over the holidays.
1. Don’t arrive on an empty stomach. You may be tempted to skip lunch so you can splurge on dinner and desserts, but do not fall victim to this bad habit. Have some vegetable sticks, a piece of fruit, a salad, or a handful of nuts before you arrive to the gathering. By skipping meals, you may cause yourself to over eat and consume even more calories than you would have if you had snacked beforehand.

2. Offer to bring a healthy dish. This strategy not only provides you with a guaranteed healthy option, but your host will greatly appreciate the help. (See healthy recipe ideas at end of this post).

3. Avoid excess alcohol and snacks. Save your calories for the main meal. Alcohol, while tempting at holiday gatherings, provides many calories and virtually no nutrients. Also, try not to sit where there are snacks provided within arm’s reach because you will consume more calories without even realizing it.

4. Serve small portions. Moderation is key to controlling your calorie intake. If you really crave that high calorie or high fat item, go ahead and take a small portion to treat yourself. It is the holidays after all. Remember to make your plate resemble the MyPlate figure and to stick to these portion sizes on a daily basis.

5. Eat slowly. Take the time to savor your foods. Pace yourself and try to be the last person to finish each course. Take small bites and chew slowly. It usually takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive the message from your stomach that you are full. With this tip, you may be less likely to raid the dessert table afterwards.

6. Leave the table when you are done. If you linger around the table, you may be tempted to continue eating even if you are not hungry. Offer to help with the dishes, clear the table, or take a walk.

Many people have a mental block when it comes to holiday eating. Have you ever heard or said any of these?

  • The “feel good” factor.  Loading the body with chocolate and sugary food releases serotonin, the “feel good” hormone.
  • The “holiday food shortage” mentality.  “This is the only time of year I get to eat this food!”
  • Sentimental value food.  “This reminds me of home.” or “This tastes just like mom’s.”
  • The “I don’t want to offend anyone by turning down their food” excuse.
  • “I’ll start eating better after the holidays,” blockade.
  • “I’ll just have one…” disaster.
    Review your cooking methods. This may help you cut some extra calories, which in turn lets you have that extra bite.

  1. Invest in lower fat ingredients for cooking. If lower fat ingredients are used it will be hard to tell the difference in the overall flavor of your food. By simply swapping regular ingredients, foods, and drinks you can make a big cut back on the amount of calories and fat you consume.

  2. Look into better ways to prepare your food. These days there is no excuse to not prepare foods in a healthy way. Instead of frying, grill your food. If you are roasting, use a low calorie oil spray. Try steaming vegetables to retain nutrients and flavor.
  3. Be wary of sugary foods. Remember that rich, sugary foods have a nasty habit of making us crave even more rich and sugary foods. By practicing healthy eating over the holidays and throwing in regular exercise, you can expect to have more energy and fewer cravings.
  4. Don’t forget to exercise. Most people have a little extra time available over the holiday season when they are not at work or in classes. Take this opportunity to develop a regular exercise regime. This will help to burn off the excess calories and fat consumed over this period. It will also get you into the habit of exercising so that you can continue after the holiday season is over.

Healthy Side Dish Recipe to Try!

Green Beans with Lemon-Almond Pesto

Green Beans with Lemon-Almond Pesto
Yields: 6 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes


Cooking spray

1 ½ lbs. green beans, trimmed

½ cup almonds

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place green beans on sheet in a single layer and spray tops with additional cooking spray. Roast for 15 minutes or until tender.
  3. Combine almonds, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in food processor and process until roughly chopped. Spoon over green beans before serving.

Here is a collection of great healthy side dishes to check out at  Also check out for more healthy eating tips.
Be healthy, but remember to have fun and enjoy the holidays with family and friends.