By SAND Social Chair Sara Erb
The happiest holidays are approaching. You know, the ones that help us to pack on the pounds for the cold winter months? First, we will celebrate Halloween. Pumpkin flavored coffee creamers, candy corn, and every on-sale candy will usually be what you want to fill your cart up with at the grocery store. In the following month, you will have turkey piles on your plate and four servings of grandma’s stuffing in one sitting. One month later we will be depleting our leftover supply, but only to feast again. New Years is just around the corner. Perfect timing for us to make resolutions for next year!
But what if we got a jump on our resolutions? What if we started so early that there was no need to make a resolution and we felt less guilty about bad habits?
Here are a few quick ways to change up your Holiday eating routines.
Halloween: Avoid the candy isle altogether! Or, instead of buying a bag of all of your favorites, get a variety pack. That way, there will be a smaller amount of each, but still a variety. Don’t keep eating the candy everyday. It is for sharing with trick-or-treaters! Home-make your apple cider this year. This way you will be sure of where the calories are coming from in each ingredient. Watch out for sugar-sweetened beverages. When you’re making hot chocolate, chose a lower fat version with skim milk. If you have to have it richer, watch how many times you fill up your cup.
Thanksgiving: For adults, limit your alcohol intake. Women are suggested to have one standard drink a day and two for men. Or, follow up each drink of alcohol with an equal amount of water. Take off the skin of your turkey and always choose the lighter pieces. Be sure to cut away any visible fat. Also, when you’re dressing your bird, don’t overdo it with the gravy. Limit this excess calories, fat, and sodium to only a small amount on your turkey. With every holiday meal, watch the sodium. Don’t put out saltshakers that could put you over the edge of daily-recommended sodium intakes.
Christmas: Watch the calories you are consuming through eggnog. Check the labels, and and select a lower fat or dairy-free alternative. Consider mixing this classic beverage with skim milk. You will be drinking fewer calories, but not compromising on the strong flavor. Watch your portion sizes. Don’t let food fall off your plate! Try baking with substitutes like applesauce instead of butter, or skim milk instead of heavy creams. Use dried fruits in place of candy chips. When you’re cooking, try to check every label for hidden amounts of added sugars and increased sodium.
Remember our classic MyPlate guide and a few of these helpful hints to enjoy happier, healthier holiday!
American Heart Association or heart.org