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Stay balanced this holiday season

By Darian Carter • Dec 18, 2019 at 4:30 PM

Have you heard that holiday calories don’t count? We want to believe this concept especially when there is a special occasion like during the holiday season. Holidays are about celebrating and enjoying time spent with loved ones, not obsessing over your food choices. However, the truth is, holiday calories DO count. This is not to say that you shouldn’t enjoy your Aunt Susie’s macaroni and cheese or Grandma’s pecan pie, but you may also want to make food decisions that don’t sacrifice your nutrition and health goals.

So how do we create balance during the holidays? Enjoy your family’s delicious, calorie-packed staples, while making health-conscious choices that won’t leave you in a food coma. Two ideas to make this happen include: 1) Be aware of your portion sizes and 2) Alter your traditional recipes to make them more nutrient dense.

Being aware of portion sizes is important. The more you put on your plate, the more you are likely to eat. Choose a smaller plate to give yourself the illusion of eating a full plate when in reality it’s a smaller amount. If you want to try everything, give yourself a bite of everything so that you can taste it without consuming oversized portions. Making yourself a leftover plate can be a good way to make sure you get a taste of everything that you can enjoy later.

Second, we can enjoy those classic recipes, but consider altering them to add balance and nutrients. Instead of mashed potatoes, try roasted potatoes to reduce the amount of sodium and fat that is typically added. Sweeten your sweet potatoes with a mix of sugar and Stevia to reduce the amount of sugar in the dish without sacrificing sweetness. Use applesauce or avocado as your fat source in cookies and baked dishes instead of oil to simultaneously increase nutrient value and reduce the amount of fat and calories in the dish.

The holidays shouldn’t be filled with anxiety around the foods you eat, but making healthy choices can also make sure you stay balanced and less overwhelmed when the holidays are over.

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