The holidays are a time of gathering with friends and loved ones, dressing to the nines, exchanging thoughtful gifts, and sharing a hearty holiday meal. It’s a time of love and laughter…and weight gain. But just because Santa has a belly like a bowlful of jelly doesn’t mean you have to join the club! Here are our tips and hacks for enjoying the bountiful holiday treats.
Lighten up baked goods
Everyone loves holiday cookies. Slash fat when baking by substituting one cup mashed avocado per cup of butter. You won’t taste the avocado (we promise!), but you will reap the heart-health benefits. Keep in mind that this trick works better in cookies that call for cocoa powder, to mask any green color. Another foolproof baking swap is subbing low-fat buttermilk for heavy cream and milk in scones, biscuits, pancakes and more.
Raise your glass to healthier cocktails
If you’re going to get in the holiday “spirit,” you might as well sneak some nutritional benefits into your glass! Use cranberry or pomegranate juice as a cocktail mixer for powerful antioxidants, vitamins and flavonoids – just make sure it’s 100% pure juice, and not the artificial, sugar-spiked stuff. Sprinkling cinnamon on your hot cider can regulate your blood sugar. And, if all else fails, reach for a 5-ounce glass of heart-healthy, brain-stimulating, cancer-fighting red wine. The trick here: keep it to just a glass or two to minimize calories (and the potential hangover).
Pick your potatoes wisely
Skip the mashed potatoes and loaded baked potatoes and enjoy a baked sweet potato instead. You’ll save calories from the cream and butter while loading up on vitamin A and carotene.
Before you head out to that office holiday party or swanky soiree, munch on a healthy snack at home, like a handful of almonds, to keep yourself from going ham on, well, the honey-baked ham. Once you’re at the party, use crudites to dip rather than carb-loaded chips or bread. You’ll save hundreds of calories without depriving yourself. Lastly, enjoy a glass of dry champagne, which locks in at only 65 calories, and always alternate drinks with a glass of water.
‘Tis the season for sharing
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to mom’s famous (and super rich) chocolate pie that you only get once a year. So, make your splurge twice as nice by sharing with a friend or relative. Boom – you get to enjoy your dessert with half the calories, and some lovely company.
Curtail the damage to just one meal
Step away from the unhealthy leftovers. Enjoy what you are going to enjoy on Thanksgiving, and then only keep the meat and vegetables as leftovers, which can be turned into soup and salads for the following few days – high protein, high fiber meals.
If you slip up and overindulge, don’t beat yourself up about it and start a downward spiral of holiday bingeing. Tomorrow is another day to make smarter choices, and hit up an ILKB class to neutralize any waistline damage.