Lose Holiday Fat Without Sacrificing Flavor

saladCome the holidays, and many people throw in the towel when it comes to healthy eating habits. While you may indulge in favorite foods more over the coming weeks, a few well-considered tweaks to recipes, meal choices, and party strategies can help you and your family avoid weight gain through the holidays, and let you enter the new year feeling—and looking–much better.
1. Think small. Simply reducing portions to a sliver of this and a sliver of that will allow you to taste everything you want without stuffing yourself. It’s perfectly acceptable to slice a piece of cheesecake in half at a buffet table, for example, or share a dessert three ways in a restaurant.
2. Load up on the healthy stuff; go easy on the heavy stuff. Allow fresh veggies, fruit, and whole grain breads or crackers to take up a good portion of your plate at a holiday spread. Fill in with proteins—the leaner the better—and consume high-fat dips, spreads and sauce-laden foods sparingly. Not only does this strategy keep the extra pounds off, it won’t sap your energy like eating high fat food does, so you’ll get to enjoy the party more.
3. Watch alcohol consumption. Aside from the critical aspects of safe driving, limiting alcohol at parties and dinners is sound for your body. You can enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail for about 120 calories, which is innocent enough. But follow that indulgence with a glass of cranberry juice and soda before you decide to pour another glass of Merlot. Alcohol consumption tends to loosen inhibitions, which may lead you to decide, “Oh, what’s one more?” not only as it applies to liquor but also to the rich canapés and chocolates looking so suddenly irresistible on the banquet table.
4. Substitute when you can in recipes. You don’t have to resort to cardboard cookies or tasteless dressings when it comes to substituting healthier ingredients in recipes. The science of low-fat cooking has come a long way. Many favorite dishes can taste equally wonderful with half the fat of their original recipes, and reduced-fat ingredients like cheese, sour cream, egg whites and cream cheese are barely indistinguishable from their full-fat forms. Yet they offer tremendous calorie and cholesterol savings. Try substituting unsweetened applesauce for oil in cake recipes. You’ll be amazed at the full flavor and texture.
5. Substituting sugar replacements for the real thing, and whole-wheat flour for white flour in baked goods, is a little trickier, since both ingredients are key factors of texture, taste and leavening. Resort to a trusted cookbook of adapted recipes for healthful and satisfying baking alternatives.
Work in a brisk walk or other form of exercise on a daily basis. Even fifteen minutes a day will make a difference, and help you stave off weight gain from the extra goodies during the holidays.

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