Healthy holiday eating

As much as we look forward to holiday parties and dinners, many of us fear enjoying it too much and packing on the pounds.  The average American eats about 4,500 calories and 229 grams fat from eating a traditional holiday dinner.  That does not include breakfast, lunch, or late-night snacking on leftovers.

Studies show the average American gains one to two pounds during the holiday season.  Clinical nutritionist Sandra Farthing said it is all about portion control.

“We are going to cheat a bit, it’s the holidays and it only comes around once a year so you’re going to want to do a little extra, but if you keep your portion sizes down, a tablespoon of everything that way you can try everything, that’s good,” said Farthing.

Although we may not all gain weight over the holidays, there is no question we tend to eat and drink more and exercise less.  With the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, parties and festive traditions, healthy eating and exercise are usually the first things to go.  Farthing suggests filling up on your greens first.

“If there are some good vegetables on the table and you know they don’t have a whole bunch of sauce and gravy on them like your broccoli or your green beans, those might be the best things to fill up on, and then have a sample of all the other things,” said Farthing.

No one wants to be on a strict diet during the holidays. We want to enjoy all the traditional favorite foods, but how can you enjoy the holidays without gaining weight?   Farthing say it is not so hard, with a little planning.

“Having the appetizer plate of veggies and some fruit with a yogurt dip instead of the other high calorie dips, have some things that are optional, like the carrots and green beans, have just a few healthier options,” said Farthing.

Shave calories with simple swaps.  Use chicken stock, fat-free yogurt, light cream cheese, and low-fat milk in place of high-fat ingredients.  Farthing also suggests drinking a lot of water before the big meal and exercising regularly.

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