Friday, October 19, 2007

Go Figure: The Holiday Trap

It's that time of year again! The crunchy leaves, the pumpkins, the cool air. The anticipation of the holiday season is building...and my tastebuds are already anticipating all that awaits them. Let's just say that what I'm really excited about is the crunchy caramel corn, the pumpkin pie, and the Cool Whip!

Well, if your family and friends are anything like mine, there will be a plethora of fattening, thigh-growing, belly-bulging foods, and oh-so-delicious foods at every home I enter...including my own. I especially love to cook and bake during the holidays, and most delectable holiday dishes aren't of the lowfat variety. So, how can one enjoy all of these wonderful things, and still maintain some semblance of a waistline? For me, I cut out the extras and adjust the portions.

I want to enjoy the holiday foods that I have grown up loving, and that still bring such joy to my tastebuds! I have found that I can eat a little of just about everything and maintain my figure. What I can't do is eat a lot of everything...everyday...all day....especially during the holidays when food is often readily available for much of the day!

Here are a few popular holiday foods that are typically loaded with fat and calories. I've found that I can enjoy them, virtually guilt free, if I make minor changes to the portions and skip the extras!

Mashed Potatoes: The hill vs. the mountain! Instead of creating a mountain with a ginormous gravy filled crater, think about making a small hill and just drizzle it with gravy. You'll still enjoy the taste and flavor, but not the fat and calories.

Pumpkin Pie: Would a Thanksgiving table be complete without one? Try a small sliver and skip the whipped cream.

Stuffing: Did you know that there are approximately 358 calories and 18 grams of fat in one cup of stuffing? Stuffing...what an appropriate name! Think about how much you want, and take half of that. The bowl will still be there if you want more...but chances are, you won't!

Egg Nog: I'll be honest, I don't like it, but I think I'm in the minority. It is loaded with sugar, fat, and calories, but I've seen the faces of those enjoying it. So, when indulging in this special treat, think shot glass, not Big Gulp!

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte: It would greatly pain me to have to give up my beloved Starbucks, but fortunately, I don't have to. A grande Pumpkin Spice Latte is 380 calories and 13 grams of fat. Ouch! Order a tall instead of a grande, substitute fat-free milk and skip the whipped cream and your drink is now 200 calories and 0 grams of fat. Yes, Z.E.R.O. grams of fat!

Let's be honest, most of us are going to indulge in our favorite, fatty, calorie-laden foods this holiday season. So, attack them with a plan that allows you to really enjoy them and not "wear" the results! For me, skipping the extras and taking smaller portions has been the key.

If you want to share any tips you have on how you avoid "The Holiday Trap", please do so in the comments section. We'd love to hear from you!

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Heidi Jo said...

a tip i learned for the holidays is this:

when putting food on your plate do not let any of it touch the other items. so if you want some of everthing...take table-spoonfuls. if you want certain items only, you may have a bit more.

it's all about PORTION CONTROL.

Highday said...

All good tips!

One thing I do is to take as MUCH of the cooked veggies, green salad and meat that I want, and then just take some of the more fattening items, like the stuffing and potatoes. I'm usually stuffed after that.

I cannot WAIT for turkey- yum!

Anonymous said...

Great tips, Sarah!!!
Pumpkin Pie... a true weakness!
Have you tried making it with Splenda & Egg Beaters? You truly can not tell the differance.
Thanks for sharing!!!

Lori said...

Great tip for the holidays. I agree with the eating smaller portions.
Problem is I love all that good food.
I love stuffing, pumpkin pie and all.
I just have to exercise a little more.

Anonymous said...

Those are great tips. It is funny how fast we do get full if we don't let our eyes get bigger than our stomachs!

And by the way, soy milk also cuts the lattes by about 40% of their fat, and it tastes good to me, too... kinda nutty. Good with flavored coffees, especially. Leave off the whip cream, and you're good.

Another tip for sweeteners... stevia plus in liquid form. It works great in drinks, and it's herbal. No chemicals. Don't be put off by the price - it will last FOREVER!!! You only need 2 drops!

Anonymous said...

All great tips Sarah. Now I just have to work on my memory so that I can remember these things come holiday time. Old habits die hard! I love Thanksgiving food and have never done well in the self control department. Guess I'll be working at putting that old flesh down :(