While the holidays for many of us, are usually spent sharing time with friends and family; they are also often spent around the dinner table. Because let’s be honest, the holidays seem to give us a free pass to over-indulge in our favorite meals. Even though I also enjoy spending time around the table, I believe there is a way to manage, and at the same time celebrate, the holiday food fest in a more mindful manner.
Here are 12 of my favorite tips for healthy holiday eating, especially for cruising through the holidays without over-indulging.
1. Add flavor with fewer calories – Herbs, spices, citrus juices, flavored vinegars, mustard and low-calorie sweeteners like SPLENDA® No-Calorie Sweetener add lots of flavor or sweetness, without all the added calories.
2. Curb your appetite with a small, healthy snack – Fresh fruit, cucumber sticks, hummus, dehydrated fruits, or edamame bring great flavor and crunch along with nutrients.
3. Cut the added sugar – Experiment making your favorite dessert recipes by simply using a low-calorie sweetener such as SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener, in place of sugar. You will be impressed with the delicious, sweet taste; with no bitter aftertaste. Learn more about SPLENDA® Naturals Sweeteners here. And I encourage you to try one of the newest SPLENDA® Sweetener Products – SPLENDA® Naturals Sugar & Stevia Sweetener Blend, which is made with only cane sugar and stevia leaf extract, so it acts like sugar but with only half the calories per serving!
4. Stay hydrated – Drink a no or low-calorie beverage before you go to a holiday event, upon arrival, and in between each alcoholic beverage. This will help keep you hydrated and help keep hunger at bay.
5. Share your favorites – Craving a high-calorie dessert? Why not share it with someone in your party? Chances are someone next to you is also trying to practice moderation.
6. Keep your meals and snacks on schedule – Choose a meal plan that includes sensible portions and snacks, with no more than 4 hours between each meal.
7. Watch your portions – Choose small plates and cups to help you eat less and make you feel more in control.
8. Fill up with fiber – Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber and they can help keep you feeling full for longer.
9. Eat slowly – putting your fork down between bites will help you to slow down while eating; allowing you to recognize when you start to feel full.
10. Enjoy the conversations – Focus on meeting new friends, or catching up with friends and family instead of focusing on what is on the buffet table.
11. Keep your exercise routine – This is critical for burning the extra calories eaten during the holidays. For some motivation, invite a friend or family member to join you!
12. Bring a healthy holiday eating option to the party – The host will really appreciate your willingness to bring an item to the party. This is a perfect time to bring your lower calorie favorites. Here are a few to consider for your next soirée!
Cranberry Almond Tarts
(serves 24; 100 calories per serving, made with SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated)
Coconut Date Nut Balls
(serves 36; 80 calories per serving, made with SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated)
Sweet as Sugar Cookies
(serves 30; 150 calories per serving, made with SPLENDA® Naturals Sugar and Stevia Sweetener Blend)
Mix Ahead Hot Cocoa Mix
(serves 22; 70 calories per serving, made with SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated)
The people at the party are going to thank you!
I have been compensated for my time by Heartland Food Products Group, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog with Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.
For more information about cooking and baking with SPLENDA Sweeteners®, visit the Cooking & Baking section of this blog.
Sylvia Meléndez Klinger, MS, RD, LDN, CPT is founder of Hispanic Food Communications, Inc., a nutrition and food communications consulting company. A Hispanic native who is a leading expert in cross-cultural Hispanic cuisine as it relates to nutrition and health, Sylvia uses her in-depth culinary and cultural expertise to introduce new strategies for wellness to an increasingly health-conscious Hispanic population. For more than a decade, Sylvia has been a consultant for major food, beverage and pharmaceutical companies and non-profit organizations.