Festive Eats and Healthy Tips

Sticking to a healthy diet isn't always easy, especially when the holidays surround you with not-so-healthy treats and temptations. In order to show you how to stay on track, we have an article that outlines the food components you should be aware of along with advice on how to work around unhealthy holiday eating habits.

Healthy Holiday Eating

November 12, 2018

This holiday season, it's important to find the right balance between enjoying your favorite holiday treats without throwing a healthy lifestyle to the wayside. By becoming aware of the different food components and their impacts on a healthy diet, you will be able to adapt your recipes and enjoy healthier versions of your favorite holiday treats. Additionally, you will be able to keep your eating habits in check by taking steps to limit your portion sizes and unhealthy food intake.


The key food components:


Calories

  • You need enough calories to give you energy, but no more than you can burn off. This is called an energy balance.
  • Taking in more calories than you burn will cause you to gain weight.
  • Taking in fewer calories than you burn will cause you to lose weight.
  • If you find the right balance between the two, you will maintain your weight.
  • Even when you are dieting, you shouldn't cut back calories so much that you don't meet your energy needs.
  • The number of calories you need depends on your age, gender, and activity level.

Dietary Cholesterol:

  • Dietary cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in all foods from animals.
  • Examples include egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish, milk, and milk products.
  • The amount of cholesterol you eat can affect your blood cholesterol levels.
  • Remember that "cholesterol-free" does not mean "fat-free."
  • Because your body makes cholesterol, you don't need it in your diet.
  • However, since most people eat foods that contain cholesterol, so it's important not to eat too much of it.

Fats:

  • All fats contain about the same number of calories teaspoon for teaspoon, so there is no such thing as low-fat fat.
  • Fat is the most concentrated source of calories.
  • It supplies more than twice as many calories per gram as either carbohydrates or proteins (9 calories per gram compared with 4 calories per gram.)
  • Most people get too much fat in their diet,which leads to health problems like obesity, high blood cholesterol, and heart disease.
  • Allthough coconut and palm oils have no cholesterol, you should avoid them because they are high in saturated fat.

Sodium:

  • Sodium is a mineral needed to keep body fluids at a healthy level, especially for nerve function.
  • It is found naturally in some foods, but most of the sodium in the average diet comes from seasonings and ingredients added to foods.
  • Salt is the main source of sodium in most people's diets.
  • However, sodium and salt are not the same. For example, a teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 milligrams of sodium.
  • You need some sodium for good health, but most people get more than they need.
  • Too much sodium in the diet can raise blood pressure, which raises the risk for heart disease and stroke.

Ways to prepare healthier fare:

  • When making desserts, substitute whole-wheat flour for regular flour in a recipe, or you can use 1/2 regular and 1/2 whole-wheat if you don't want to make a full switch.
  • Substitute bananas and applesauce for fat.
  • Use natural sweeteners such as shredded carrots, zucchini or beets to cut down on sugar.
  • Always have some berries as a side with your dessert. They're naturally filling and will reduce the amount of sweets you eat.
  • Add some nonfat chicken broth for a healthier way to make a juicy turkey,
  • Instead of adding extra ingredients and calories to your vegetables, just let them be themselves.

Ways to avoid overeating:

  • Be sure to eat slowly so your body will have more time to digest the food. This way, you will feel full sooner and eat less overall.
  • Make small desserts such as mini-cheesecakes or mini-cupcakes to help with portion control.
  • Eat a healthy snack before you go to a party so you don't arrive with an empty stomach.
  • If you're at a restaurant, try sharing an entrĂ©e or eating half and taking the rest home for later.
  • Consider using 8-inch plates instead of the normal 10-inch plates. Smaller plates will help people choose smaller portions without having to think about it.

Do you want to put your knowledge to the test? Take a short quiz to find out what you know about holiday sweets and treats!

Take The Quiz!