Healthy Bites: Be choosy this holiday season

By JAMMIE SCHRAB

Jammie Schrab, Mount Mary student dietition, health columnistHot chocolate, warm apple cider, pumpkin pie latte and eggnog sound wonderfully warm and comforting as winter’s bitter chill nears. Hearty turkey potato stew, noodles covered in a thickened cream sauce and buttered winter squash — all stick-to-your-rib foods — are perfect to stave off winter’s cold embrace. Unfortunately, they stick to the ribs, the hip and the gut.

A seven-week span brings three federal holidays. In addition to family meals, folks who are employed outside the home often have holiday work parties, celebrate with cookie exchanges and host potlucks. These activities can become a dumping ground for tempting, tasty leftovers for family meals.

Depending on family traditions, this could mean six to 12 meals featuring holiday specialties such as pumpkin pie, deep fried whole bird turkey, candied sweet potatoes, buttered sweet corn and other calorie-dense foods.

To put some perspective on all those tasty calories, one stick of butter contains 800 calories and one cup of sugar has 770 calories. Understandably, such rich delicacies using large amounts of both are often reserved for special events, but indulging in savory holiday delights does not mean weight gain is inevitable.

Not every delicacy is created equal. If you like cream pie better than rhubarb pie, then wait for the cream pie. Just because rhubarb was offered, doesn’t mean you are obligated to eat every last crumb.

A patient, selective mindset can mean the difference between being disappointed with something you don’t really care for and holding out for something you find is worth the wait. Understanding what you truly want can save hundreds of calories.
By moderating the portion size of favorite dishes and increasing activity, you can help keep holiday weight gain under control. With these tips, you’re well on your way to a healthy, happy holiday season.

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