Want to prevent that five pound weight gain over the holiday season? It’s certainly no easy task when faced with daily treats around the office and holiday parties galore. ‘Tis the season of eating, but making these five smart swaps for some traditional holiday foods can help ensure you’ll still be able to pull on those skinny jeans after ringing in the New Year.
Naughty: Egg nog
Nice: Spiced apple cider
While it’s a classic holiday drink, egg nog contains three key ingredients: milk and/or cream, sugar and eggs (plus sometimes added liquor such as brandy or rum). Trade in this high fat, cholesterol-rich beverage for some homemade spiced apple cider. Heat one cup of apple cider, add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, then garnish with a cinnamon stick. Guaranteed to keep you warm and toasty on cold holiday nights!
Naughty: Peppermint mocha “holiday” lattes
Nice: Warm cocoa
Local coffee shops are abuzz this time of year, each offering its own versions of limited-time festive drinks. The problem is that when you combine your regular daily espresso and steamed milk with flavoured syrups and top them off with whipped cream, chocolate curls and candy bits, the calorie count goes sky high. Instead, treat yourself to a small size warm cocoa made with low fat milk, or better yet, stick to plain coffee.
Naughty: Hot spinach dip
Nice: Hummus or salsa
Spinach dip seems to be a staple food at every holiday party. And while it sounds like it could be a healthy option given the key ingredient is leafy greens, the truth is that the rest of the dip is typically comprised of mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese and other cheeses. Certainly not diet-friendly fare, especially when you’re dipping into it with fried chips or chunks of bread. Go for the lower fat options on the table such as hummus or salsa instead (bonus points if you dip with veggies!).
Naughty: Mashed potatoes
Nice: Sweet potatoes
What’s a traditional holiday dinner without a side of mashed potatoes? While potatoes themselves aren’t necessarily an unhealthy food, it’s the addition of ingredients like butter, cream and salt that go into mashed potatoes that makes you want to leave this side dish right there…on the side. This year, treat your taste buds to some mashed or baked sweet potato instead. Sweet potatoes are chock full of vitamin A and fibre, and they don’t need added fat to give them flavour. While you’re at it, don’t forget to load up your plate with other vegetables like green beans and Brussels sprouts that are on the table.
Naughty: Prime rib
Prime rib is often featured front and centre on the holiday dinner table, and for some, it can be hard to turn down a slice of tender, juicy beef. But prime rib is a very fatty cut of meat, so it’s not the best entrée choice for your heart or your waistline. White meat turkey is just as festive and delicious, with a fraction of the fat and calories. Just go easy on the gravy!