By Nicole Spain, Registered Dietitian
The abundance of social gatherings that come with the magic of the holidays make it easy to overindulge. Try some of these tips to keep your family on the path to wellness (and to get a jumpstart into even better health in the New Year!)
- Eat Before Arriving – Going to a party on an empty stomach is like going to the grocery store hungry.If you know there will be food at an event, try eating at least a little something – such as lean protein or veggies – before you go.
- Make Healthy Choices – If there is a spread of foods to pick from, look for fruit- and veggie-based items. There may be many salads or sides to pick from, so opt for those instead of the sugary, rich food items.
- Workout Earlier in the Day – If you know you’ll be indulging later in the day, plan a higher intensity workout to get blood flowing earlier in that day. Increasing the calories you burn during the day can offset the extra calories you will consume later on at a social event.
- Use a Small Plate – Trick your brain into thinking you are having a lot! By using a small plate, you can fill it up quickly, and when you’ve run out of room, you can’t take anymore. If you use a big plate and only put a little on it, you may feel deprived OR you may end up filling it up if there are lots of options that look good to you.
- Drink Water – Skip the extra calories found in sodas, juice or adult beverages – opt instead for water! This will help decrease the calories you consume at the event.
- Mingle and Move – Don’t sit down and you’ll end up burning more calories while you mingle. If it’s a small family affair, you may want to suggest taking a group walk during the event.
- Bring a Dish to Share – If you bring something to share, plan on making something healthy! If it’s a spread of appetizers and snack-like food, you could bring something as simple as a fruit tray. If it’s a potluck affair, then think about bringing a whole grain, lean protein or vegetable-based dish. This Winter Baked BBQ Chicken is very popular:
Winter Baked BBQ Chicken
1 ½ lb chicken breast, cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, diced
1 apple, diced
1 ¾ C barbecue sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 for convection oven).
- Cook chicken in olive oil over medium heat until outside is golden brown. Remove from heat.
- Coat bottom of baking dish with olive oil.
- Place sweet potato and apples in bottom of a baking dish. Top with reserved chicken (and juices).
- Pour barbecue sauce over the top and cover with foil.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft when tested with a fork and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.