Can you believe the holidays are here already?! 2012 has flown by and many places already have up Christmas decorations. For many of us who are watching our weight, all of the holiday celebrations can cause a little bit of anxiety. But, the best advice I think I ever got was in a Weight Watchers meeting years ago. The leader said not to forget it’s a HoliDAY, DAY, DAY. Just one day. We often think that from the end of November until the beginning of January we’re forced into the holiday season and the rich foods that often come with it. But in reality, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just one day. Although there might be Dutch apple pie in the break room at work, and holiday candy treats everywhere. Be mindful not to use “the holidays” as an excuse to deviate from your healthy eating plan. It’s also helpful to remember that it should really be a time to share and reflect on the things you’re grateful for, not just a time to eat. I’m so grateful for my family and I’m super excited that my little sister will be home from college. I miss her like crazy, even though she calls me 8 times a day.
On the actual day of Thanksgiving eat your normal breakfast. You might be inclined to think you need to save all of the calories you can. But, by the time dinner rolls around you’ll be starving and more likely to overeat. Eating your normal healthy breakfast will help you make better choices that evening. For all of my Fierce runners out there, why not run a Turkey Trot 5K. It’s usually early enough in the morning that it won’t interfere with your family plans. Later in the day, when it’s finally turkey time, enjoy your favorites in moderation, but be sure to load up your plate with veggies. Also, don’t waist calories or points on sugary drinks, just drink water. It will help you feel fuller faster, and save hundreds of calories.
With my family we do a big potluck style meal and if I changed up my recipe, and made a healthy version I would probably be ex-communicated. But, if you’re cooking at home and want to make healthier versions, here are some swapping tips to keep some of the same great flavors but save on calories.
Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Substitution Tips
1 whole egg = 2 egg whites
sour cream = low fat plain yogurt or low fat sour cream
whole milk = skim or 1% milk
ice cream = frozen yogurt
heavy cream (not for whipping) = 1:1 ratio of flour whisked into non fat milk (e.g. 1 cup of flour + 1 cup of non fat milk)
whipped cream = chilled evaporated skim milk or other low fat whipped products such as Nutriwhip
cheese = low-fat cheese (please note: non-fat cheese does not melt well if use in cooking or baking)
butter = light butter
cream of mushroom = fat-free cream of mushroom
So, in summary, Thanksgiving does not have to become a time of stress just because you’re trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but instead a time of family celebration!