We work so hard all year to manage our weight but during the winter months we tend to throw it all away. It starts with nibbling on candies around Halloween then having a few more drinks and large meals around Thanksgiving. Finally, December 25th comes around and we have been eating sugar cookies and sucking down eggnog like our summer diet never existed. Little do we know we are doing more damage to our weight loss goals than we thought. In fact, a Cornell University study found that the pounds you put on during the holiday season can take over 5 months to burn off! If you are serious about your weight loss goals, you need to be able to manage your diet during the holidays by remembering the staples of a good diet and by finding alternative dieting choices.
In our previous blog Bariatric Diet; What Do I Eat Now, we reviewed the staples of a well balanced diet. When October comes around it is very important to remember to stick with this balanced diet or we will be gaining back all the weight we worked so hard to lose all year. A balanced diet consists of eating nutritious foods that contain good fats, complex carbs, and are high in protein. Here are a few typical holiday dishes we MUST replace with healthy alternates:
· Eggnog – Contains 19 grams of bad fats in just one cup!
· Vegetable Casserole – This one is a trickster. You think you are eating healthy vegetables but these casseroles often contain heavy creams (bad fats) and are high in sugar (simple carb). These “vegetables” typically carry a whopping 8 grams of bad fats per serving!
· Salad Dressings – Many of the dressings we put on our salads (IE ranch, thousand island, honey mustard, etc.) are filled with bad fats.
· Bread Rolls – Contain white flower (simple carb) and are often topped with butter (bad fat).
· Stuffing – Often contains white flower and is loaded with saturated fats.
· Mashed Potatoes – Mixed with butter and heavy cream (bad fats).
· Prime Rib - Contains 4.5 grams of saturated fats in just one serving!
· Gravy – Contains 5 grams of saturated fats in just one serving!
· Baked Goods – Loaded with sugar (simple carb) and saturated fats.
· Candy – Nearly entirely comprised of sugar.
· Alcoholic Beverages – Often contain high levels of sugar and bad fats.
So… what am I supposed to eat?! As you can see most of the common holiday dishes are not a part of a healthy diet and will cause you to gain weight. In order to eat healthy during the holiday months we need to look at alternative dishes. Let’s take a look at all of the items mentioned above and what a healthier alternative option can be:
- Eggnog – Avoid store bought eggnog and make your own! There are plenty of healthier eggnog recipes online such as this recipe from A Sweet Pea Chef; https://www.asweetpeachef.com/non-alcoholic-eggnog/
- Vegetable Casserole – There are many ways to make a healthy vegetable casserole without baking the veggies with heavy creams and sugar. Check out all of these delicious healthier options from Cooking Light; https://www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder/vegetable-casseroles
- Salad Dressings – There are multiple options for delicious salad dressings that don’t contain high levels of bad fats. Check out this list from Eat This Not That for healthy salad dressing options; https://www.eatthis.com/healthy-salad-dressing/
- Bread Rolls – Choose a bread roll recipe that has healthy whole grains rather than processed white flower. Here is a great recipe from Handle the Heat: https://www.handletheheat.com/whole-grain-oat-rolls/
- Stuffing – Your stuffing does not need to have breads and creams to be delicious. Check out all of these great stuffing alternatives from Cooking Light: https://www.cookinglight.com/entertaining/holidays-occasions/thanksgiving-stuffing-recipes
- Mashed Potatoes – There are plenty of healthy mashed potato recipes using low fat milks/ creams. Try this one out by Genius Kitchen: https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/healthy-garlic-mashed-potatoes-358209
- Prime Rib - Substitute your prime rib for turkey. Turkey is highly nutritious and low in saturated fats. Here is a great turkey recipe from Eating Well: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/264898/traditional-herbed-roast-turkey/
- Gravy - You can substitute the fat filled, creamy gravy with healthier options that contain whole-wheat pastry flour and low fat chicken/ turkey broth. Check out this recipe from The Gracious Pantry: https://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-gravy/
- Baked Goods - Your baked pies and cookies don’t need to have white flower and processed sugars to taste good. Check out all of these healthy baking alternates from Your Cup of Cake: https://www.yourcupofcake.com/2014/03/healthy-baking-substitutions-3.html
- Candy – When you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, look to these delicious alternates from Women’s Health; https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/a19986136/candy-substitutes/
- Alcoholic Beverages – Skip the sugary mixers and look to some of these healthier options from Eat This Not That; https://www.eatthis.com/healthy-alcoholic-drinks/
Remembering to eat foods that contain good fats, complex carbs, and are high in protein is especially important around the holidays. Focus on finding healthier alternate eating options and you won’t have to worry about gaining that excess holiday weight !
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