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Tips for a guilt-free holiday

While the holidays are a special time to be with loved ones, it’s also a time when we overindulge in big meals and sweet treats. But, with a little meal planning and mindfulness, it is possible to put out a guilt-free spread both you and your guests enjoy.

Taylor Mattson, clinical dietitian for Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital & Clinics, offers these four tips:

Avoid skipping meals

Skipping breakfast and lunch to save room for the holiday spread is a no-no. Eat healthy balanced meals throughout the day. Choose high-fiber foods, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. High-fiber foods offer a satisfying fullness and can help prevent overindulging come dinner time.

Keep your portions in check

Designate a sizeable portion of your plate for vegetables or begin your meal with a salad to stabilize your hunger signals. Be sure to eat with your stomach, not with your eyes, and stop when you start to feel full.

“Try using a smaller plate to help keep your portions in check,” Mattson said. “Visually, it can trick you into thinking you have more than enough food to satisfy your hunger.”

Don’t dine and dash for the sofa

Instead of collapsing on the couch after a big meal, get your family and friends together for light activities. Perhaps play a game of charades or take a trip to the nearest sledding hill.

Enjoy being in the moment

The holidays can bring a lot of stress – worrying about what and how much you eat or how much you spend on gifts. Don’t let it take over.

“The holidays are about love and family, so enjoy the ones around you to the fullest,” Mattson said. “And don’t be afraid to eat the foods you love. Try eating intuitively and savor every bite of Grandma’s famous apple pie that you only get to eat once a year.”

Do you have questions or concerns about your diet? Talk to your primary care provider or registered dietitian. More information is available on the Aspirus website at aspirus.org.

Healthy holiday swaps

• Reduce dietary cholesterol by replacing a whole egg with two egg whites

• Substitute butter with avocado in cookie recipes

• Substitute oil, margarine or butter with applesauce in muffins and breads

• Use fat-free yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise in dips and sauces

• Choose reduced fat or fat-free cheese in salads and casseroles

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