The holiday is usually a time to enjoy the company of family and friends and indulge in delicious food and drinks. But it’s important to not let yourself go too much. Regretting that extra five pounds isn’t fun come January. Here are some tips for seeking out healthier, low-calorie alternatives to your favorite holiday dishes.
Instead of non-alcoholic eggnog (343 cal/serving), opt for hot chocolate with no added sugar (only 60 cal/packet). Registered dietician Rachel Berman explains that we don’t register nutrition from beverages the same way we do food. That’s why you won’t feel “full” from the 300-400 calories of eggnog you consume and will pack on the same amount of calories from dinner regardless of what you drink.
For alcoholic drinks, try this wine spritzer recipe that’s only 50 calories per serving.
Replace the boring, high-cal cheese and crackers (306 cal/2 ounce cheese and 5 crackers) with shrimp cocktail (51 cal/5 medium-size shrimps). Coupled with low-fat cocktail sauce, the shrimp provide protein while helping you avoid saturated fat.
If you pick raw veggies for the appetizer, just make sure to pair it with a similarly healthy dip – hummus or ranch are dangerous sources of hidden calories. WebMD suggests a crabmeat pomegranate dip with only 26 calories per serving.
Just because it contains “green” doesn’t mean green bean casserole is a light, healthy dish. The butter, cream and fried onions are the downfalls of this traditional holiday side dish (309 cal/1 cup serving). Instead, enjoy grilled asparagus brushed with olive oil for the benefits of vitamins and minerals (84 cal/6 spears).
Honey-glazed ham (283 cal) is worth ditching for juicy marinated beef sirloin (274 cal/5 ounce serving). Although the calorie difference is negligible, the ham has more than ten times as much sodium as the beef (1,250 mg vs. 120 mg). Almost everything natural is better than processed foods.
For turkey or chicken, white meat (breast) contains less saturated fat than dark meat (thighs). Also it’s good practice to remove the skin of the poultry.
Here comes an extremely tempting part of the meal. You’ve done well so far; don’t ruin it with cheesecake or too many chocolate chip cookies! Check out these amazing low-calorie desserts. Try berry pudding cakes that are 141 calories apiece, chocolate mint cups at 54 calories per serving or apple crisp at 142 calories per half-cup serving. Remember, small portions really are the key to not overeating. Consuming two mini portions will trick your brain into feeling more full than if you eat a sumptuous serving.
To keep track of your calorie consumption, download this wonderful free Calorie Count mobile app.