Healthy Holiday Eating

Its that time of year where friends and families get together to celebrate the holiday season, which usually means an abundance of parties and delicious food at every corner.  Here are some simple tips to help you stay healthy throughout the holiday season.  Choose wisely.  Opt for lean cuts of protein like turkey breast, fish or lean meats.  Always keep portion size in mind; a portion of protein is about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand.  Avoid snacking all day. Maintain a regular meal pattern, as if it was any other day.  Small bites here and there all add up at the end of the day.  Don't fast and binge.  Alternatively, do not excessively restrict your intake if you know you are going to have a big meal later in the day.  Chances are you will probably eat more than the calories you "saved".  Choose salads and light broths that keep you feeling full and are low calorie. Be picky.  Save you calories for the speical occassion foods that only come around once a year.  Choose the foods you really enjoy instead of eating everything that is offered.  Eat slowly! It is not a race to dessert.  It takes at least 20 minutes  for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are full. It is best to wait at least 20 minutes before going for seconds.  Confused what foods to eat? Learn the following key words that describes the way foods are prepared.  Low Fat Preparation: steamed, in its own juices, garden fresh, broiled, grilled, roasted, poached, dry broiled in lemon juice or wine.  High Fat/Cholesterol Preparation: buttery, buttered, in butter sauce, sauteed, fried, pan fried, crispy, creamed, in cream sauce, in its own gravy, hollandaise, au gratin, in cheese sauce, escalloped, marinated in oil, basted, casserole.  Remember the holidays are not just about foods! Focus on the other non-food holiday elements like traditions, decoration, going for walks and staying active.  Enjoy your time with family and friends!  Wishing you a very happy holiday season!  Elaine P. Secilmis, RD CD

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