It’s the holiday season, so let’s Eat, Drink, and be Merry! Good food, drinks, and great company are certainly to be enjoyed this time of year. However, did you realize that the average person consumes about 600 extra calories per day during the holiday season. This can lead to a whopping 6lbs of weight gain between Thanksgiving and Christmas – WHAT?? Although we are faced with a lot of unhealthy options, there are actually a lot of healthy substitutes for most of our holiday favorites. Knowing is half the battle right?? Making smarter food choices could certainly help keep us from growing a Santa like belly by the New Year (: Here is a list of some of the worst holiday choices along with some healthier substitutes. Happy Holidays!
Appetizers: Yum. . . spinach artichoke dip – one of my favorites!! It’s got spinach, it’s got artichokes – gotta be good for me right? Unfortunately, NO! The main ingredients typically include cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo so this dish can be super high in calories and fat. Choose salsa instead for only a mere 10-20 calories per ¼ cup. If you can’t do without this dip (like me!) , try this slimmed down recipe. Another favorite of mine is crab cakes. The main problem with this appetizer is that crab cakes are usually fried so they soak up a lot of oil which packs on the calories and fat. Instead choose the shrimp cocktail which weighs in at about 100 calories and 0 grams of fat.
Side dishes: Mashed potatoes seem like one of the healthier options right? Not when grandma makes them with butter and full fat milk or cream. A great substitute is roasted red skin potatoes or baked sweet potatoes. If you really want to get crazy, give pureed cauliflower a try. (Yes, I’m serious). This nutritious dish has become a staple on my families menu. It has a flavor and consistency very close to mashed potatoes . Definitely experiment with the basic recipe by throwing in some low-fat sour cream, chives, garlic or low-fat cheese. Also, don’t be fooled by the side dish that has the name of a vegetable in it’s title. Ahem, Green Bean Casserole. . . Often made with butter, cheese, salt and topped with french fried onions, this dish can quickly become super unhealthy. Consider choosing grilled asparagus tossed in garlic and balsamic vinegar or a dish of steamed broccoli with a bit of fresh squeezed lemon and dash of salt .
Photo Credit: Skinny Taste
Main Dish: Prime Rib is a complete fat and calorie trap as this cut of meat comes from the fattest part of the cow. It can contain up to 750 calories and 45 grams of fat per serving! Fortunately, if you are a steak lover, there is healthier option for you: beef tenderloin. A serving of beef tenderloin has about ¼ the calories of a serving of prime rib. If your family will be carving a turkey for your holiday dinner, you’ve made a great choice! Turkey is one of the leanest choices in terms of meat entrees. However, try to stick to the white meat as the dark meat has about 70 additional calories and three times the fat of white meat without any skin.
Desserts: When you finally reach the dessert table, think twice about placing a piece of pecan pie on your plate. One slice can contain more than 500 calories and 30 grams of fat. Instead, go with a slice pumpkin pie which contains about ½ the calories and only 6 grams of fat. Skip the crust and you’ll save even more calories.
Cocktails: The traditional cocktail most commonly associated with the holiday season is Egg Nog. However, the main ingredients are sugar, eggs, whipping cream, and bourbon, so it’s packed full of calories, fat, and sugar. 1 cup of egg nog contains 343 calories and 21 grams of sugar! Spiced Cider is a much lighter choice and even better is sugar-free hot chocolate . Think twice before you reach for a gin and tonic : 8oz= 240 cal, 22gm sugar! Instead go for a glass of bubbly Champagne (100 calories and 5gm sugar – half the calories and ¼ the sugar of a gin and tonic). Overall, Red wine (in moderation) is always a great choice: 5oz contains about 125 calories and a dose of heart healthy flavanoids.
Coffee drinks: As mommies preparing for the holidays, we can certainly benefit from a morning pick-me-up. It’s especially wonderful when you can treat yourself to a fancy coffee drink made by that nice barista at your favorite coffee shop! Yes, PLEASE! But beware, some of those drinks can pack more calories than a Big Mac! If the Starbucks 2% Venti Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha sounds enticing, you may want to consider the consequences: 640 calories, 21 grams fat, 94 grams sugar! Instead, go for a Grande Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte which boasts 120 calories, 0 grams fat, and 16 grams sugar. In fact, most coffee shop chains now include nutritional info on their website where you can swap in/swap out different types of milk, syrups, and toppings. It’s a great tool to create a slimmed down version of your favorite drink!
I hope you and your family enjoy a healthy and HAPPY Holiday!
To learn more about how I keep my family healthy all year long check out my website or facebook page. Juice Plus provides my family with whole food nutrition from 17 different fruits and vegetables everyday!