Taking the Guilt out of Holiday Eating

by Kristina Ingrouille, UW-Stout Dietetic Intern

The fall signals the start of a two month long holiday food fest, starting with Halloween and ending with New Year’s celebration. In addition, people tend to be less active during the colder months. General weight gain during the holiday season was once thought to be five to eight pounds; however, studies show that the typical weight gain for an individual is around one pound. This pound can be difficult to lose throughout the year and can add up over a number of years.

Many people will focus on losing weight during the holiday season, but it may be more realistic to set your sights on maintaining your current weight. This can be achieved by balancing what you eat with regular exercise. Eating more calories than you burn causes weight gain.

Holiday season stress is one factor that can trigger the desire to eat more. Eating high fat and calorie dense foods triggers chemical reactions in the brain. This can cause the brain to release endorphins, which for a short period of time makes you feel satisfied but can lead to cravings and eating more. Planning ahead before going to a gathering can help with self-control and ease the stress of deciding what to eat.

There are many tips that can help an individual avoid overindulging at holiday parties.

Here are some suggestions:

• Maintain a regular eating schedule. Skipping meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop and may result in overeating the rest of the day.
• Avoid going to a holiday party hungry. Eat a healthy snack such as fruit or veggies before heading out. This helps in reducing the chance of overeating and choosing less healthy options at the party.
• Take a stroll to see what foods are at the party before filling up the plate. Plan ahead what item to bring. Select a nutritious lower-calorie option such as vegetable tray and dip or Pumpkin Tomato Bisque recipe (listed below).
• Take smaller portions. Many times a smaller plate will help, but be careful not to overload the plate.
• Take a larger amount of vegetables (almost half the plate).
• Chew slowly and take smaller bites. This helps the brain and stomach to feel full faster and lessen the chances of overeating.
• Listen to your body! Wait twenty minutes before going back for seconds. Many people ignore satiety, which is the body’s cue of feeling full.
• Take the food or yourself away from the table when done. Grazing adds extra calories to the daily intake.
• If you overindulge one day, try to eat healthy and calorie-conscious the next day. This will help to get back on track with your normal eating routine.

Ways to reduce fat and calories in homemade recipes:

• Make mashed potatoes with low-sodium chicken broth and evaporated skim milk for added moisture and creaminess. Hold the butter, and no one will know!
• For glazing vegetables use pineapple or orange juice thickened with corn starch to sweet potatoes and carrots; adding pumpkin spice gives a festive flavor.
• Use half the sugar in pumpkin pie recipes and substitute brown sugar for white sugar, which adds more flavor.
• Use light or fat-free whipping cream, or hold the whipped cream altogether to save on the calories.

Low-fat baking options:

• Applesauce and plain low-fat yogurt can substitute fat in most recipes. If the recipe calls for ½ cup of butter, replace ¼ cup butter with unsweetened applesauce.
• Mashed ripe bananas can be used as a fat replacement in carrot or banana cake or muffins. Replace half the amount of the fat with mashed bananas in the recipe.
• Prune-based fruit puree works well in place of butter in chocolate, spice, or carrot cakes.
• Baby foods can be good fat substitutes in dishes that have similar flavors.
• Two egg whites can replace one whole egg in a recipe. This can save more than 10 grams of fat and 100 calories.
• Replace heavy cream or whipping cream with evaporated skim milk.

PUMPKIN AND TOMATO BISQUE

Yield: 8 servings

3 TBSP butter OR 3 TBSP vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
28 oz. can whole tomatoes w/ juices
4 cups freshly made pumpkin puree OR 4 cups
canned pumpkin puree
3 cups chicken stock (3-4 cups)
1  red pepper puree garnish (optional)
1 TBSP maple syrup or honey
Salt to taste

Directions:
1. In a 10-inch skillet, melt the butter or heat oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté slowly, stirring often, until limp but not brown, 6-7 minutes. Stir in 3 cups stock and let simmer, partially covered, about 15 minutes.
2. Pour the tomatoes with their juice into a food processor. Add the maple syrup or honey and puree. Add the pumpkin, and buzz again. Strain the stock, and add the strained-out onions to the processor. Buzz again, and, if an extra smooth soup is desired, put through a power strainer.
3. Add the tomato-pumpkin puree to the stock. Season with the salt. Reheat, and serve very hot. Garnished with red pepper puree if desired. Serves 8-10

Kristina Ingrouille is a UW-Stout Dietetic Intern working with the Eau Claire County WIC Project.

Information received from:
www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic
http://vilascounty.uwex.edu/files/2012/11/Holiday-Calorie-Control-Tips.pdf
www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442473463&terms=holiday%20party%20survival%20guide
www.recipesource.com/text/soups/soups/recipe133.txt

Recipe from www.recipe source.com

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