Healthier Holiday Meals

by Alex Arena

Hold the Panettone! Unlike other unreliable resources that claim we consume close to 6,000-7,000 calories per holiday meal, I won’t even guesstimate because A.) It depends on the individual and B.) My guess is the number is probably higher.

If you’re anything like my family, when the holidays roll around so does a menagerie of food. I come from a large, Sicilian enclave that believes in 10-course meals. (You think I’m exaggerating but I’m not.)

Subsequently, this year I decided to research ways I could enjoy everything Christmas has to offer, except a little bit healthier. With these simple tips, you’ll be able to have your cake and eat it too without BahHumbug-ing the rest of the night.

5 Tips for Healthier Holiday Meals:

  1. Beware of the breads! (Or… be aware of the breads rather.) Christmas is a Carb Fest. By limiting the amount of bread you eat throughout the night, you can make room for the main attractions!
  2. Watch your portions! Good things come in small packages. (So they say.) You, as well as I, know you aren’t going to skip out on the favorites you’ve been waiting for all year, so indulge in moderation. Take a little of everything and enjoy it, but stop there!
  3. Quit the boredom snacking! Boredom is to blame for a lot of the extra calories we consume during the holidays. We eat while we’re waiting for the food to come out. We eat when we’re waiting to open gifts. We eat just to eat. It’s become part of the holiday culture. Instead, try helping your family prepare the meal, clean up or play a game (sans food.)
  4. Choose your booze wisely! A normal glass of eggnog can cost you about 224-343 calories. Yikes! By switching to skim milk and taming down the alcohol, you can significantly reduce the amount of calories you’re drinking. (See this recipe by Bethenny Frankel.)
  5. Avoid the accouterments! A great deal of calories come from overdressing your food in an overabundance of condiments. Salt, gravy, sauce. Whipped cream, caramel, fudge. By avoiding the extras, you can save yourself hundreds of calories.

Stick to these five cardinal rules and you’ll have a very merry Christmas without the guilt. Wishing you and all your loved ones a happy holiday!


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