WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Juicy baked turkey and glazed ham, cheesy mac-n-cheese, buttery mashed potatoes, sweet pies, beautiful wines… Are you hungry yet?
The meaning behind the holiday season has become more and more tied to splurges in spending and eating. But enjoying your favorite holidays foods and treats shouldn’t have to mean damaging your health.
WFMY News 2 Digital Reporter Laura Brache spoke with Katie Jordanhazy, a Registered Dietitian at Novant Health, and Katie Konter, Dietetic Intern, to learn keep things healthy this holiday without giving up the ‘yummy.’
Jordanhazy said that “On average, people tend to gain anywhere from one to two pounds, to anywhere from seven to ten pounds over the holidays.” She says that the goal should to maintain your current weight, rather than gaining or losing weight during the holidays. “We know we’re gonna splurge a little bit, and that’s okay to do, but we don’t wanna do too much.” Here are ways you can minimize splurging and maintain that weight:
- Eat your veggies!
Are you having flashbacks of your parents yelling at you to eat your brussels sprouts when you were five? Well, it’s still applicable at your Christmas dinner years later. Jordanhazy tells us that they’re so important because they’re “low-calorie, high fiber, helps keep us full and it’s going to fill up half your whole plate with low calorie food.” So, load up on the veggies to conquer the crave for the Hawaiian rolls.
- BYOD: Bring your own dish
Bringing your own dish to the holiday party gives you more control of what you’re putting in your body when you’re surrounded by high-calorie, fatty and sweet dishes. Jordanhazy says it’s the best way to cut the excuses “and then you can’t say ‘They didn’t have anything I could eat there.’”
- Use a smaller plate
If you see a big plate, you’re gonna want to fill it. If you see a small plate, you will want to fill it too, but at least you’re controlling over-portioning and over-serving. “You’re not gonna overdo it! Even if you do splurge on the types of food that you get, you won’t overdo it on the calories if you stick to a smaller portion size,” Jordanhazy said.
- Enjoy your food and slow down
“It takes our bodies about 20 minutes to recognize that we’re full, so it’s really important to slow down and savor all that food,” Konter shared. What if you’re done eating and still want more? “Wait about 10 to 15 minutes before even deciding to get up and go for seconds,” she added.
- Put the food away!
Is everyone in a food comma gathered by the TV? Then that’s your cue to put all the leftovers away! “Put the food away so instead of leaving the food sitting out, and be tempted to go back and get seconds or thirds, or little bites here and there,” Jordanhazy said. Those bites are calories too, and they add up quickly. But it’s also much better for food safety reasons. “You don’t wanna leave food out for longer than two hours prepared,” Jordanhazy added.
Healthy Holiday Eating Tips For This Season
Jordanhazy and Konter also said that another way to make holiday eating healthy is to use healthy ingredients and set them up in visually appealing ways that will make us want to eat them. They showed us a very festive veggie platter arranged in the shape of a Christmas tree.
“All we did was cut some broccoli right off the stalk and some cherry tomatoes. We sliced up a yellow bell pepper, and we did some hummus for the dipping sauce,” Konter said.
Dipping sauce can make a difference too. Buttery and creamy dressings and dips can be very fatty and high calorie. Konter says using plain, nonfat, or Greek yogurt based dressings and dips are a great healthy alternative.
Be mindful during your holiday dinner when serving and dressing your plate. That extra butter on your rolls, extra sur cream on your potato, and fried meat instead of grilled meat can really make a difference is the healthiness of your serving.
So, enjoy your holiday parties and the yummy foods they have to offer, but remember, don’t splurge too much!
Share your healthy holiday alternatives with us on social media with the hashtag #HealthyHolidayEating and tagging us on Twitter @WFMY.