This holiday season, eat this (not that)

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Every time our bodies recover from a holiday eating binge of sugary and fatty foods, there’s another holiday just around the corner. Whether its candy bars at Halloween or turkey on Thanksgiving, there are ways to cut calories and choose more nutritious options, without feeling like you’re missing out on all the fun. 
 
These easy swaps and tips allow you to enjoy holiday food with your friends and family, while reducing your post-holiday guilt. 
 
Halloween
  • Set a daily limit for the amount of candy you allow yourself to eat. This is a very moderate approach where you can “have your cake (or candy) and eat it too.” Women should aim for around a 150-calorie limit and men around 200.
  • Opt for dark chocolate when possible. It has less sugar and more antioxidants and healthy fat than milk chocolate.
  • Swap out candy for healthier packaged snacks like crackers when trick-or-treaters come to the door.
 
Thanksgiving
  • Save calories by eating foods you really enjoy and passing on others. For example, don’t skip pumpkin pie if you really love it and only have it this time of year. Have a small or medium slice, eat it slowly and enjoy the flavor this holiday has to offer. Skip rolls and other foods you eat more regularly.
  • Choose white meat over dark meat. It has far less fat and calories.
  • Make mashed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes to avoid a ton of carbs. Your family probably won’t notice, but if you think they will, you can swap out half the potatoes for cauliflower instead.
 
Christmas
  • Make your cookies using dates or applesauce instead of refined sugar.
  • Bring a healthy side dish or appetizer to share so you know you’ll have at least one nutritious option to fill your plate. Try making a yogurt-based dip for a low-fat and protein-rich alternative to traditional dips.
  • Enjoy a larger meal on the day of and watch your calories during holiday parties throughout the rest of the season. Try to stick to your nutrition and exercise plan most of the time, but know there will be a couple days that will be more indulgent.
New Year’s Eve
  • Take a plate of food to limit consistent snacking throughout the night. Snacking directly off your plate instead of out of the serving dishes will help keep those calories from adding up.
  • Avoid fruity alcoholic drinks that are full of sugar. Instead, squeeze some fresh citrus juice into drinks mixed with seltzer water. 
  • Always drink a glass of water between alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated. Drinking water can also keep you full and help with overeating. 
Above all, try to maintain an exercise routine during all the holidays. This will help you stay focused on your health goals and add some stability to a hectic time of year.
 

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