The holiday season is notorious for being the cause of weight gain. Depending on what report you read, many people gain anywhere from 10-15 lbs during Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Let’s face it, this time of year is also cold in many areas of the Northern Hemisphere and so we also tend to eat heavier meals in spite of the holiday fair. More alcohol drinking is also involved with the holidays and alcohol carries with it a lot of empty calories.
We all have traditional meals we can’t wait to eat during this time of year. There are certain dishes that just makes it feel like the season has begun. We look forward to the indulgence we may have deprived ourselves all year for these few occasions at the end of the year. But there are ways to make the holiday meals you love without breaking the scale.
Here are just a few suggestions on how you can have your cake and eat it too.
Greenbean casserole, a holiday American favorite is normally made with cream and/or cream of mushroom soup topped with crispy fried onions. That same casserole can be made without the cream replaced with low fat cheese like parmesan or a mixture of low fat cheeses simply mixed in with roasted green beans and tossed in when they are still warm. You will save calories and still maintain great taste.
Macaroni and Cheese is another decadent dish that usually contains pasta with multiple melted cheeses and baked. You can make a simple pasta dish with a light cream sauce like a low fat alfredo sauce instead of mixing in 4 or 5 cheeses. Top again with shredded parmesan to replace the saltiness and you’ve got yourself a healthier dish that is still decadent in flavor.
Desserts are a must-have during the holiday season and it is easy to create taste healthy desserts. Try putting out a dish of dried fruits like banana chips, raisins, apple chips, and dates. These dried fruit have the sugary taste you are seeking but the sugar is natural at least. Vegan desserts are also all over the internet and you can try making vegan cakes and pies that are packed with flavor but not the calories.
Cocktails are a huge culprit when it comes to weight gain. We tend to gather in homes during this season which may cause us to drink more because we are not driving. But cocktails can pack on the pounds. Try simple cocktails like wine spritzers, which are a little wine mixed with seltzer or sparkling water. They are pretty and will satisfy that holiday spirit everyone is looking for.
Whatever you decide to do to cut down on calories during the holiday season, remember, don’t drink and drive, cut down on your alcohol intake and don’t overstuff yourself. When you feel full, step away from the holiday table.