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Archive for December, 2011

With all the festivities and celebrations during the holiday season we tend to forget or perhaps ignore healthy foods. Whether we think so or not, our bodies don’t celebrate holidays. Too many less-healthy foods reap unwanted consequences, either now or later. We also seem to disregard how much we overeat at parties and dinners.

We don’t have to completely avoid holiday favorites, but we can make practical choices and cut back on the amount we eat. Our holiday tradition calls for fresh coconut cake. I doubt any family members will go without, but they don’t have to feel guilty. With determination we can cut back on the portion size of all high-calorie, fatty, salty, or sugar-laden goodies.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) compiled “Smart Secrets for Sensible Celebrations.” The following tips, adapted from AICR, give suggestions for what they term as “healthy indulgences.”

  • Consider Plate Proportions. Cover one-third of your plate with holiday indulgences and the other two-thirds with healthier choices such as salads and vegetables prepared with limited amounts of fat, sugars, and salt.
  • Select Whole Grains. These foods contain cancer-fighting phenols and saponins.
  • Color with Synergy. The combined action (synergy) of nutrients in different foods makes for a healthier diet. The colors of varied vegetable and plant foods supply different phytochemicals that protect the body in many ways.
  • Choose Party-plate Portions. How often do we attend parties sporting tiny plates and a table laden with a vast array of foods we salivate to try? We settle for slivers of this and a taste of that. Do the same with holiday meals. Take small amounts. Remember, one-half cup of cooked vegetables equals about one portion, and a serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. Indulge in small tastes of calorie-laden foods—nuts, fats, gravies, and sauces—or skip entirely if you can.
  • Balance Beverages. Alcoholic beverages contain seven calories for each gram compared to four calories per gram for sugar. Consider unsweetened beverages and limit or avoid those with alcohol.

With these suggestions, you can cut calories, limit over-indulgence, and avoid feeling like the stuffed turkey.

Enjoy the holidays.

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