Christmas Treats

With the holidays come the holiday treats that we look forward to all year. Home baked goodies, decadent sweets, and savory meals may be delicious, but too much of a good thing can cause the pounds to pack on. Before the invites start rolling in and the holidays are in full swing, learn to indulge sensibly with the do’s and don’ts of Christmas treats.

Cocktails and wine are popular at holiday parties and gatherings, but most drinks pack in the calories.  Steer clear of sugary mixed drinks that could have as many calories as the meal itself! Even non alcoholic drinks like mulled cider and punch are sugar bombs and should be enjoyed in moderation. Opt instead for a light beer, or wine spritzer. For non alcohol drinks, cut juices like cranberry with seltzer. And remember to stay hydrated with plain water!

The appetizer table often presents many options to sink your healthy diet. You made a smart choice by choosing veggies and dip as an appetizer, but what’s in your dip? Swap out sour cream based dips for ones made with non fat Greek yogurt. It could save you as many as 50 calories. Cheese and crackers are commonly found as an appetizer option, but are high in saturated fat and pack in the calories. Fill your plate with veggies first, then choose a piece or two of cheese to savor.

According to the Independent, Brits, on average, consume close to 6000 calories on Christmas Day. Christmas Dinner presents many ways to rack up those calories. Fortunately, with some mindful choices, that number can be brought down.

If a Christmas turkey makes an appearance on your table, you may be faced with choosing between white or dark meat. Go for white! It has about 160 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat per serving versus 190 calories and 3 grams of saturated fat in dark meat.

Mashed potatoes are a favorite side dish, but go too heavy on the butter and the fat content goes through the roof!  1 cup of the creamy side can add 237 calories to your tally, and 9 grams of fat. If making your own, swap butter for olive oil. Then enjoy this dish while getting in some healthy fats at the same time.

Cranberry sauce is a holiday table staple, but one serving can deliver 100 calories, and pack in more than 20 grams of sugar. Try making your own cranberry relish. Cut the sugar by a quarter to a third, or use a sugar substitute like Stevia.

If you top off your plate with a ladle of gravy be aware of the fat content. One cup of gravy can have 14 grams of fat. If making your own, skim the fat from the drippings in the pan, and use low sodium broth. If you opt for the canned version, read the label. Many commercial gravys come in low-fat and low sodium.

It’s hard to make healthy choices at the dessert table, but maybe you don’t have to. Enjoy a mindful indulgence. Is Christmas pudding your favorite? Enjoy a slice with a side of fruit. Do you long for your grandmother’s homemade cookies? Enjoy one or two with a cup of coffee. You don’t have to deprive yourself, just plan ahead. Whatever you choose, savour it. You’ll feel more satisfied than if you nibble without thinking about what you’re eating.

One of the most important things to remember about enjoying holiday foods is to not deprive yourself. By making mindful choices you can enjoy your favourite foods without going too far off your clean eating path.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas season. 

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