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9 ways to eat right during the holidays

eating healthyBy Wendi Hope Hager, Contributing Writer
University of Tennessee Medical Center

They’re here. The holidays, just waiting for you to throw caution to the wind and gobble up calories, fat and extra sugar you just don’t need. But instead of making your holidays difficult trying to restrain yourself, why not plan for healthy holidays? Utilize a few of these easy tricks to help keep you on track without the pressure.

Plan ahead. Whether preparing the meal or appetizers or attending a party, plan ahead by eating healthy throughout the day, first select healthy food before trying some higher calorie items. Fill up on salad, veggies, water and low-calorie items. Eat a snack before the party and plan on bringing a healthy food choice.

Don’t taste as you cook. It’s amazing how easy you can add extra calories and fat just by tasting “a little of this.” Consider every bite – and taste – you are putting in your mouth. One bite of cookie dough is 50 calories. One finger full of fudge batter also is 50 calories. One tablespoon of frosting is 60 calories. The one cookie that you couldn’t fit in the tin can be 150 calories.
  1. Do not skip meals. “Saving” your calories for later does not work. You end up hungrier and less likely to make a healthy choice later on.

  2. Modify family favorites. Make small modifications to your recipes by using lower-calorie and fat-free items. You also can use whole grain foods such as breads and pastas as well as brown rice.

  3. Consider each item you eat. Select lower-calorie treats at the office and at parties. One glass of eggnog (6 oz.) is 300 calories. One handful of cereal party mix can be about 200 calories depending on the ingredients. One ounce of snack chips is about 150 calories. One piece of fruit cake is 300 calories.

  4. Keep a bottle of water with you at parties and at work. This will help curb your hunger and help you stay away from alcohol drinks that contain a lot of extra calories.

  5. Don’t socialize by the buffet. Take a small plate and then mingle throughout the room and away from the table. Don’t go straight to the buffet, say hello to everyone first, get a drink of water and then get some snacks further into the party.

  6. Allow yourself indulgences. Don’t deprive yourself of everything. That’s a great way to over-indulge. Instead, allow yourself some of your favorites. And, if you are looking to add a healthy indulgence, try using ingredients such as pomegranate, nuts, dark chocolate and similar items.

  7. Make your dish a healthy one. When taking your dish to a party or the office, make yours a healthy dish so you know there is something healthy and delicious being offered.

Published December 7, 2010

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