Five Tricks to Dump Holiday Stress Off Your Plate
Writer / Darren Boston
Here we go again! From office parties to family gatherings, the holidays’ starch-laden meals, delectable treats and overflowing cocktails could cause even a health guru like Dr. Oz to stumble. To avoid holiday missteps, arm yourself with a plan for navigating around punch bowls of eggnog and break rooms stocked with tempting treats and leftovers.
“Healthy eating during the holidays doesn’t have to be a chore if you know a few simple tricks,” says Joni Fiscus, clinical dietician at Indiana University Health West Hospital. “And let’s face it – the holidays can be stressful enough without feeling guilty about your food choices.” Try these five tips to stay on your healthy eating track.
Talk with your family, friends and coworkers to set some boundaries. You may be surprised to find others are facing the same challenges.
Try Healthy Substitutions
If you are the one who normally supplies a favorite dessert, consider substituting ingredients to make it healthier. Many recipes come with low fat or low calorie ingredient suggestions.
Take Four Bites
A smaller plate equals less food. This will help you get a taste without loading up. There’s a theory in the diet and nutrition world that says four bites of whatever you’re craving is enough to satisfy you.
Fill Up Before You Go
Keep a supply of quick and healthy snacks nearby. Grab one of those snacks just before a holiday gathering, and you will be less likely to overeat.
Liquid Calories Count
Sipping on a holiday cocktail may seem like the safe choice, but the numbers are shocking. A margarita can have more calories than a Big Mac. And why opt for a coffeehouse peppermint mocha when you could swap it for Aunt Ruth’s famous red velvet cake? Be prepared with water or unsweetened tea. But take note – soda, punch and juice all contain unnecessary calories too.
Along with good nutrition and regular exercise, regular visits with your primary physician are vital for managing stress and staying healthy. To find a physician that’s right for you, call IU Health West Hospital’s free physician referral hotline at 317-217-DOCS (3627).
Tune Up Your Family Recipes
When it comes to the tastes of the holidays, we tend to prefer our family favorites. Luckily, giving those tried-and-true recipes a makeover is a snap. You can modify most recipes simply by reducing the amount of fat, salt and sugar while increasing the fiber. Note: Just because it’s healthier doesn’t mean you can ignore your portion sizes.
- When the recipe calls for a whole egg, try 2 egg whites.
- When the recipe calls for sour cream, try low fat plain yogurt or low fat sour cream.
- When the recipe calls for whole milk, try skim or 1% milk.
- When the recipe calls for ice cream, try frozen yogurt.
- When the recipe calls for heavy cream (not for whipping), try a 1:1 ratio of flour whisked into nonfat milk (e.g., 1 cup of flour + 1 cup of nonfat milk).
- When the recipe calls for whipped cream, try chilled evaporated skim milk or other low fat whipped products.
- When the recipe calls for cheese, try low-fat cheese, but note that fat-free cheese does not melt well when cooking or baking.
- When the recipe calls for butter, try light butter.
- When the recipe calls for cream of mushroom, try low-fat or fat-free cream of mushroom.