Helpful Hints to Prevent Overindulging this Holiday Season
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas — the holidays where we tend to snack on candy, toast with cocktails and punch and eat bountiful snacks and meals is upon us. Temptations will be plentiful this time of year: dinner parties, goodie trays, bountiful buffets—how do we enjoy ourselves yet keep our caloric intake at a reasonable and healthy level? In this post, Sharon Rekieta, Fitness and Wellness Director at Lake Austin Spa in Texas, shares some helpful hints and tips.
Concerned about drinking too many calories?
Realize that some of the popular holiday beverages are loaded with calories and fat:
- Starbucks 16 oz. Peppermint Mocha: 470 calories, 22 grams fat
- Hot Buttered Rum: 418 calories, 17 grams fat
- Eggnog 8 oz.: 350 calories, 19 grams fat
The calories in a single serving of any one of the drinks could equal one-fourth to one-third of your total daily allotment!
However, if indulging in a classic favorite is an important part of your holiday and you want to enjoy guilt-free, prepare your beverage with ingredients that have fewer calories and/or less fat.
- Order the 12 oz. Peppermint Mocha with nonfat milk and no whipping cream. It’s still delicious and you’ll save 250 calories and 20 grams fat!
- Make eggnog with low-fat milk and less rum for a much lighter libation.
- Enjoy a glass of champagne, wine or sparkling cider in a beautiful flute for a drink that is light, festive and fat-free.
Another way to prevent consuming too many liquid calories is to alternate glasses of alcohol with sparkling water, tea, or any unsweetened beverage.
And, don’t drink on an empty stomach. If you enjoy a few light snacks with your beverage, you are more likely to drink at a leisurely pace.
Concerned about eating too many calories?
Conservative estimates of calories and fat grams for many of the traditional holiday dinner favorites:
- 3.5 oz. turkey: 200 calories, 10 grams fat
- ½ cup stuffing: 180 calories, 11 grams fat
- ½ cup sweet potatoes: 285 calories, 5 grams fat
- 1 cup mashed potatoes: 237 calories, 9 grams fat
- ½ cup gravy: 100 calories, 8 grams fat
- 1 cup green bean casserole: 350 calories, 17 grams fat
- Dinner roll: 100 calories, 3 grams fat
- 1/8 of 9” fruit pie: 290 calories, 13 grams fat
- 1/8 of 9” pumpkin pie: 240 calories, 13 grams fat
- 1/8 of 9” pecan pie: 470 calories, 24 grams fat
- 2 tbsp. whipped cream: 20 calories, 2 grams fat
Depending on the ingredients and preparation methods, your holiday meal with all the trimmings, including dessert could total 2000 – 4500 calories with up to 200 grams of fat, and that one meal might be well above your recommended daily caloric allowance.
Just as there are alternatives for substituting or eliminating the not-so-healthy ingredients in beverages, there are also hints for preparing our traditional dinner favorites with fewer calories and less fat such as:
- Before eating trim the skin off the turkey
- When making gravy, skim the fat off the drippings and don’t add butter
- Use broth in stuffing instead of butter
- Reduce the amount of butter and use skim milk in casseroles and potato dishes
- Most of the fat and calories are in the crust of the pie. If you’re bringing dessert, eliminate the crust by baking a cobbler. Or, if the pie is already on the table, just eat the tasty filling and leave the crust on your plate.
- Before putting any item on your plate or in your mouth, ask yourself: is it worth it?
- If your answer is “yes”, savor your selection, chew slowly and really taste every bite.
- If your answer is “no”, keep moving down the buffet line or pass the platter.
- Consider portion size. Don’t let your eyes get away with being bigger than your stomach.
- Start with modest helpings of your favorites, as that may be enough.
And remember that total restriction, denial or deprivation has no place at a holiday gathering; however, don’t feel you have to give in to every temptation. If there are dishes such as mashed potatoes that you eat frequently, pass them by so you have room (in your stomach and in your caloric tally) for those dishes that you may have the chance to eat only once a year—like your Aunt Sally’s famous and well-loved chestnut stuffing!
With a little bit of thought and mindful-consideration, you can enjoy your favorites, feel satisfied and emerge on the other side of the holidays with your waistline intact.
Tucked away in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Lake Austin Spa Resort is an all-inclusive luxury experience, where we cater to your well-being and provide a sanctuary for rest and renewal. Come discover why our Austin, TX resort has been ranked the #1 Hall of Fame U.S. Destination Spa in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2015.