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Four ways to cut calories this holiday

Last Modified: 12/04/2019

Holiday Nutrition

This post was written by Adrianne Kartholl RDN, LD, clinical nutrition supervisor, Parkview Health.

The holidays are always a fun, but busy, time of the year. Whether you’re prepping for a large gathering or a festive family dinner, planning ahead (and adding a dash of creativity) can help keep you eating healthy all month long.

Plan to pitch in

The holiday season is a very social time of year, brimming with parties and carry-ins and huge spreads of special dishes and treats. If you truly want to make sure there’s a healthy option, offer to bring one!

Some healthy options that you can contribute to any gathering are:

  • Crudités and hummus dips. There’s quite a variety of hummus flavors available at local retailers, so you can even mix and match. There’s even dessert hummus, which you could serve with berries and apple slices!
  • Mexican cuisine chips and dips.  Put together a plate with whole-grain tortilla chips, black bean salsa and guacamole dip.
  • Bruschetta with whole-grain pita chips
  • A platter of assorted olives and nuts.  Olives and nuts, such as walnuts and almonds, are a good source of healthy fats. Remember that moderation is key with these foods, so pay close attention to your serving size!
Prep with protein

Before you head out to a party, be sure to plan ahead. Eat a small meal with lean protein and healthy fats at home so you feel satisfied for longer. While at the party, and if you are feeling hungry, stick to the fruit and vegetable platters. Not only will this help you cut down on calories, but these foods are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Seasonal substitutions

If you are contributing to or preparing the meal, there are some simple substitutions you can try that will cut down on calories but maintain everyone’s favorite flavors.

  • Instead of green bean casserole, try making green bean almandine.  This recipe is simple and packed full of flavor, with the addition of lemon juice, fresh garlic and crunchy almonds.
  • Try swapping out butter-drenched mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower!  Take the flavor up a notch by blending in olive oil, fresh garlic and herbs.
  • Try whipped sweet potatoes with a crushed walnut topping instead of sweet potato casserole.
Think before you drink

People often consume a large number of calories in their beverages. Try to stick to water. If you choose to indulge in an alcoholic beverage, make it a single serving. Mixers are not only high in calories but sugar as well.

Remember, serving sizes still count. Be mindful of how much you are placing on your plate. Finally, be sure to listen to your body, and choose to stop when you feel full. Enjoy the holidays and keep your wellness goals in mind as you savor the season.

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