Braised Chicken Thighs Root Vegetables

8 Tips for Healthy Eating This Holiday Season

Choose a smaller plate. Decreasing portions can be hard during the holidays. Try using a smaller plate. Using a smaller plate will automatically steer you to choose less and to leave room for a bite of dessert!

  1. Choose wisely. With all the tempting choices, it’s not always easy to choose the healthiest option. Start by filling half of your plate with vegetables, a quarter plate of lean protein, then fill in your plate with the heavier dishes. Eat vegetables first, choose white meat over dark, and baked versus fried.
  2. Don’t rush for seconds. It takes your stomach 20 minutes to tell your brain that it’s full. A good way to avoid overeating is to eat slowly and wait 20 minutes before going back for seconds. Also, take some time between dinner and dessert to allow your body to digest and you’ll be more likely to eat with your stomach and not with your eyes.
  3. Limit liquid calories. Avoid excess calories from your drinks. Alcohol, apple cider, eggnog, and sodas are popular during the holidays. Have a smaller glass or skip it altogether to save room for the main event.
  4. Increase fiber. Fiber keeps us feeling full. Increase fiber by using a half and half blend of whole wheat and white flour when baking. Switch to whole grain dinner rolls at the table. Add vegetables to soups, casseroles, and salads for more fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  5. Lower the fat. Although fats add lots of flavor to our favorite dishes, they’re also higher in calories. Try using non-stick cooking spray or parchment paper instead of butter and oil to grease pans. Swap out full-fat dairy products for low-fat or nonfat alternatives.
  6. Eat less sugar. Take advantage of the abundance of seasonal citrus and add these natural sweeteners to salads, snacks, and main dishes. To use less sugar when cooking, enhance flavors with vanilla or almond extract and other spices, such as nutmeg and cinnamon.
  7. Take home leftovers. Make the holidays last longer with to-go containers! Instead of filling up on all of your favorite foods in one day, keep portions small and calories balanced by saving some for later.

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

Have your dessert and eat it too

There’s no escaping the abundance of decadent desserts during the holiday season. Along with cakes, cookies, and brownies, pies are some of the most popular desserts during the holidays.

If you’re trying to watch your dessert intake this season, here’s some good news: You don’t have to avoid the dessert table altogether. Remember, not all desserts are created equal, so choose wisely and pick a piece of your favorite holiday pie.

  • About $700 million in pies are sold each year in the U.S.
  • One slice of pie is 1/8 of standard 9” inch pie
  • On average, Americans prefer…
    • Apple pie (19%)
    • Pumpkin pie (13%)
    • Pecan pie (12%)

Depending on how you slice it

1/8th of a 9-inch pie, on average will set you back…

  • 296 calories, Apple Pie
  • 316 calories, Pumpkin Pie
  • 512 calories, Pecan Pie

Written by Lisa Piazza, Dietetic Intern.

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