JODY HOLTON – The festive season is here, use these tips – Port Arthur News

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JODY HOLTON – The holiday dining season is here, use these tips

Posted at 12:04 a.m. on Sunday, November 20, 2022

Traditionally, the month of November signifies the start of the eating season.

As we resume normal operations, watch out for buffets, teas, lunches, parties, potlucks and cookie exchanges. Oh my! It’s enough to make your head spin and swell your waistline.

Dips, desserts, drinks, loaded with so much fat and sugar, that the average weight gain from November 1 to December 31 is about 5 pounds. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but how hard did you work to lose 5 pounds?

And if you don’t remove it, you add it the following year. Don’t let all that hard work you’ve put in throughout the year fly out the window.

Here are some great tips for getting through this most dangerous time of the year.

Shop smart. Plan your menu to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. To cut calories, go easy when adding nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream.

Start the party on a light note. Most entrees tend to be loaded with calories. And it’s so easy to eat too much before a meal. Make it easy for your guests by providing light and satisfying entrees. For mouth-watering yet healthy entrees, offer shrimp cocktails, whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese, vegetables with low-fat yogurt dip, or fresh fruit skewers.

Light and easy to do. Add simpler vegetable and fruit dishes to your menu instead of heavy dishes with sauces. Your guests will be filling up on healthy fiber without a lot of extra calories. For example, green bean almandine with a squeeze of lemon is healthier than traditional green bean casserole. Plain peas or corn are healthier than peas or creamed corn. But if you must have a casserole, use a low-fat soup, increase the vegetables, and top it with crispy, unsweetened whole grains instead of fried onions.

Shave calories with simple swaps. Create healthier versions of your holiday favorites by cutting calories wherever you can. Simple low-fat ingredient swaps are easy ways to save calories — and no one will even notice the difference. Use low-sodium chicken broth or bone broth, fat-free yogurt, light cream cheese, and low-fat milk in place of high-fat ingredients. Replace oil with fat-free yogurt or applesauce in baked goods.

Go easy on the alcohol. Offer customers an alternative to high-calorie, high-sugar alcohol-based beverages like unsweetened tea, sparkling water, or low-sugar punch.

Attending a party and not cooking?

Have a healthy snack and a large glass of water before you leave the house. Don’t walk away hungry, or it will lead you to overeat.

Find the healthiest choices, raw vegetables, fruits, cheeses and lean meats. Of course, you will be tempted to let yourself be tempted by the tasty range of sweets, do not deprive yourself of it. However, take a bite, not the whole cookie.

Find someone to share with and taste. Don’t snack, grab a bite and then walk away from the food court. Tomorrow, get back to your usual healthy eating and fitness routine.

A little planning, a little determination, and you can get through the meal season relatively unscathed.

Cheers! Here’s to a healthy vacation!

Jody Holton writes about health for Port Arthur Newsmedia. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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