The holidays are coming!! And with Thanksgiving right around the corner comes the opportunity to fall off track from your healthier tendencies. To help make it through the holiday hump this year, I asked Keri Gans, nutritionist/RD on behalf of ConAgra, about some best practices to live by during the holidays or any day. Check out her answers below:
What are your top tips to keep the holidays healthier?
First off is to stop the excuses. The holidays are basically three days; Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, not a period of six weeks. Enjoy the food served on the actual holiday but do not give yourself permission to overindulge the remaining days. Secondly, plan a head. Probably this is the most important thing to remember. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Keep healthy foods on hand, schedule exercise, and get plenty of sleep when possible. And lastly, if you make a mistake one day, shake it off and simply get right back on track.
Any go to recipes you can share?
Honestly, I am not a big recipe person. In my book, the simpler the better. Nothing like a broiled piece of fish, steamed veggie and serving of whole wheat couscous. Quick and easy is my motto.
Thanksgiving is a heavy meal, what are ways to lighten it up?
Well, first off you should have a snack before you go to your Thanksgiving meal so you aren’t starved. A snack that is a good source of fiber and/or protein and healthy fat. One of my favorites is a serving of popcorn with a handful of almonds. A recent study actually showed that 100 calories of Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop and Gourmet Natural was more satiating than 100 calories of a granola or nut bar.
As for the actual meal itself, you can make lighter versions of traditional dishes. Mashed potatoes can be done without butter and made with lowfat greek yogurt instead. Soups can be made with pureed vegetables and chicken broth instead of cream. Vegetables can be roasted with a little olive oil versus baked with creamy sauces.
Christmas lasts from the first cookie to the holiday ham, what are the best low calorie desserts to indulge in?
Usually I say to pick one dessert that you must have and then be done with it. No seconds, no sampling of others, commit to one and enjoy it. And be mindful of your serving size, it should fit on a small plate not a large one. Of course a bowl of fruit is always a healthy option.
Have any tips to keep willpower up during the holidays?
Again here is where a snack can come in handy. The hungrier you become the more likely you are to have less willpower. It is also important that you don’t skip meals with the mind set of saving calories for later. One healthy option if you are watching your calories overall is to have a Healthy Choice frozen meal for lunch. A recent study found that a 280 calorie Healthy Choice meal was more satiating than a replacement bar, resulting in the participants consuming less calories overall for the day. Finally to keep willpower up during the holidays try your best to keep in mind your health goals. So much easier not to have to start all again on New Years Day.
That was some sound advice from Keri, and will hopefully help you refocus your holidays. Changing your mindset from holiday indulgence to healthy holidays can help you stay on track, and set you up for a happier new year! Bon Appétit!