’tis the Season – Healthy Holiday Tips

300-chickenBy Lara Bell –

The holidays are literally right around the corner, and for the majority of us, a little weight gain comes with the festive times! This year, I am determined not only to not gain weight over the holidays, but I am hoping to lose weight. I spoke to some experts at Medi-Weightloss to provide some tips so your weight doesn’t tip the scales.

Q. With the holidays approaching, what tips do you have for someone who is trying to stay the course through the season of over indulging?

A. The biggest tip of all is to be prepared! Here are three easy tips to keep you trim during this holiday season:

Have a Plan. Never show up to a party hungry and empty-handed. Bringing a healthy dish or two will ensure you have something healthy to eat. You also can ask the host what is on the menu. If there are few to no options for you to enjoy, eat before going to the party, so you can enjoy the good times and good friends without compromising your healthy lifestyle.

Look for Healthier Alternatives for Holiday Favorites. Healthier alternatives like roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower mash, turkey meatballs, roasted sweet potatoes and wine spritzers will keep you on track and taste just as good as their high calorie and high fat counterparts.

Relax! Being stressed out can lead to unhealthy food choices and binge eating. The holidays can be a busy time, and it’s important to take time for yourself. Studies have shown that stress increases insulin and cortisol levels, prompting people to eat more. Lifestyle changes to decrease stress, such as meditation and yoga, may help you maintain your sanity and figure.

Q. We know protein is good for us, so does that mean Thanksgiving turkey is OK to indulge in?

A. While roasted turkey and ham are OK to enjoy, it is important to keep portion sizes in mind. When preparing your plate, make sure that you stick with a piece that is about the size of the palm of your hand or three to four ounces.

Q. What can we do to prepare for holiday parties?

A. If you are bringing a dish, you can make something that not only your friends can enjoy, but you can as well, such as Pumpkin Casserole. No matter what your social event, plan ahead to avoid temptation. If there is an indulgence you just can’t miss, don’t deprive yourself. Just count it toward your daily calorie goal. Taste a bite of dessert or have that glass of wine, but don’t overdo it. If you indulge in moderation, you can have fun without putting a strain on your diet. Try to stick to a maximum of one alcoholic beverage.

Pumpkin Casserole
Skip the potatoes – sweet and white – this year, and enjoy Pumpkin Casserole instead. Pumpkin is a versatile vegetable, and with about 50 calories per ½ cup, pumpkin is a favorite choice of health enthusiasts. Packed with flavor and essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin C and carotene, pumpkin is a perfect choice for the holiday dinner table.

200-pumpkinsFor the casserole:

  • 1 (15-oz) Can pumpkin
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 Tablespoon Splenda® brown sugar blend
  • 2 Tablespoon margarine
  • 1 Teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt

For the topping:

  • 1/4 Cup pecans
  • 1 Tablespoon Splenda®
  • 1 Tablespoon margarine
  • 2 Ounces vanilla whey protein shake

Blend the casserole ingredients and pour into a baking dish. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake in an oven set at 350° F for 15 minutes.