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Tips For Not Gaining Weight On Thanksgiving Or Christmas

Feb 29, 2008
On feast days, it's especially important not to skip a healthy breakfast. We tend to over eat and choose more fattening and sugary foods when we've gone too long without eating. A healthy breakfast might include two or more of a whole grain cereal or oatmeal, eggs, vegetables, yogurt or milk, and fruit. Try to eat healthy food every four hours throughout the holidays, but eat small meals. Make sure you drink a lot of water, particularly on feast days.

Often staying lean during the holidays is hardest on the cook. Here are a few tips for cooking a more healthy weight-friendly meal:

For a stuffing that is less fattening and even more delicious, start with whole wheat bread or whole grain rice. Use half or less of the amount of butter and oil. Double or even triple all the healthy ingredients such as celery, onion, mushrooms, nuts, and dried fruit. This will lower the fat and increase the fiber of your stuffing. It will also make it more flavorful. Your traditional recipe can be adjusted in this way.

Use a rack to roast meats. Domestic duck and goose should be pricked all over the skin prior to roasting, to allow the fats to escape. Cover your roasts until the last to keep them moist, instead of using butter. Then remove the cover for the last twenty to thirty minutes to allow the skin to brown.

Purchase an inexpensive gravy separator. These are small plastic pitchers with the spout located at the bottom of the cup, much like a garden watering can. Before making gravy, ladle the meat juices into the gravy separator and allow a minute for the fat to float to the top. Carefully pour the juices into the pan you will use to make gravy until the fat reaches the bottom and then stop. Then continue to make the gravy. Your gravy will be much more lean but just as flavorful.

In the first part of this article, we looked at how we can make stuffing that is not heavy and will not add weight. We also talked about how to make less fattening gravy. Let us discuss more.

Learn how to make especially delicious salads. To mixed greens you might add sliced pear, apple, beets, orange slices, nuts, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and dress the salad with a raspberry vinaigrette.

If you are going to serve rolls, try a whole grain roll.

Find side dishes that are both healthy and particularly delicious. Make larger batches of the healthy dishes and smaller batches of the less healthy ones. This will gently encourage you and your guests to want more of the healthy vegetable side dishes.

Eating a healthier holiday meal, even if you are not doing the cooking, is easier if you follow certain guidelines. Half your plate should be vegetables, no more than a quarter of the plate should be meat, and no more than a quarter of the plate should be starches and breads. Fill at least half your plate with salad, green vegetables, baked sweet potato, carrots, squash, brown or wild rice, cranberry sauce, and fruit. If you are eating meat, choose a lean portion about the size of a deck of cards. Select only a small portion of stuffing, mashed potatoes, casserole vegetables, vegetables in heavy sauce, cheese, or breads. Avoid butter, do not use extra salt, go easy on the gravy, and avoid cheese sauces. Wait on what might be second helpings for another small meal a few hours later.

There is no need to deny yourself dessert, just use common sense. Always eat healthy food before dessert, and then take a small portion if you see something you like. If you have filled up on healthy food first, you will be less tempted to overeat dessert.
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