The Norman Transcript

December 27, 2013

Watch calories during the holidays

By Courtney Berry
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Q: With the holiday season here, I was wondering if there are some easy, helpful tips on how to eat and cook healthfully during the holidays?

A: This is a great question, since the holidays make it tempting for us to splurge on favorite traditional meals and desserts that might also be high in calories and fat. Practicing mindful eating habits and incorporating some type of physical activity can help prevent weight gain during the holidays.

If attending a holiday party or other special gathering here are a few tips to consider:

· If planning to treat yourself later, try eating a small, lower-calorie meal or snack that includes whole-grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and protein such as eggs, turkey meat or 100 percent natural peanut butter. Eating something before you go to the party or gathering can help to control hunger cravings and not fill up on extra calories.

· Since most holiday meals tend to be buffet-style, it is helpful to look over what foods are offered on the serving table to get a glimpse of foods you will definitely eat, sample or skip altogether. This will help you not overload on extra food on your plate.

· Using a smaller plate also can help you not overeat by fitting smaller portions of food on your plate. Consider filling up your plate with fruit, vegetables and salad before helping yourself to the main entrée dishes and desserts.

· Eat slow and savor every bite of your food. Wait at least 10 minutes before going back for second helpings to see if you are still hungry.

· Socialize farthest away from the food area, if possible. This helps you not graze on appetizers or buffet items.

· Consider going for a walk or playing interactive games with family members, guests or children to socialize and have fun.

If hosting a holiday gathering, here are some healthful cooking tips to consider:

· Choose low-fat or fat-free yogurt, sour cream and whipped topping to make dips, sauces and dessert toppings.

· Choose reduced fat or low-fat cheeses to make casseroles and other entrees.

· Use applesauce in place of butter or margarine when baking cakes, muffins or quick breads.

· Sprinkle some chopped or slivered almonds over casseroles for a delicious crunch instead of fried onion ring toppings.

· Choose low-sodium or fat-free chicken broth to add a savory flavor to gravies and mashed potatoes instead of butter or margarine.

· Substitute two egg whites in place of one egg to lower the cholesterol content in certain meals.

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