Take charge of the holidays for your good health!

Eileen Luker
Posted 11/25/18

Holidays are challenging for everyone. As people age, it takes fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight. Bite-for-bite, a low calorie food like an apple has a small fraction of the calories found …

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Take charge of the holidays for your good health!

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Holidays are challenging for everyone. As people age, it takes fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight.

Bite-for-bite, a low calorie food like an apple has a small fraction of the calories found in a bite of a high-calorie food, like cake or candy. Filling your plate with low-calorie foods and eating small amounts of high-calorie foods can help you cut calories and still enjoy holiday eating. 

Usually, highly processed foods, like cured meats, packaged baked goods and fast food meals, have a lot of calories. Minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans have fewer calories and more fiber and nutrients. But sometimes you really crave a piece of candy or cake. In that case, it’s time to find a way to savor a small amount and cut calories in other places. 

Sneak more vegetables into meals. With few exceptions, vegetables and fruits contain plenty of water, fiber and nutrients. Fiber-rich plant foods, which include beans and whole grains, are digested more slowly. This creates a more satisfied feeling and longer lasting energy. Water adds bulk to a food, too, and helps to keep you hydrated. 

Put lower calorie eating together with at least 30 minutes of daily moderate physical activity and that will help you ward off weight gain that can hamper healthy aging.

Watch your portion sizes, too. Research shows that using smaller plates, bowls and drinking glasses can help curb portions. 

Also, filling up first on vegetable salad with low-fat vinaigrette dressing – or eating a bowl of broth-based or tomato soup – can lead to eating less of a main course. 

First, plan ahead of time. There will be times when you will be off your eating schedule and your eating habits. Try to eat your meals and snacks as close to your usual times as possible. Benefit of eating snacks? It can help you keep from overeating if your meals are later than usual. 

Watch your weight. It’s easier said than done, but the fact is that people tend to gain weight during the time between Halloween and New Year’s. Set a goal to just maintain your weight instead of trying to lose weight. If you do overeat (and it’s bound to happen), don’t feel guilty. Get back on track with your eating plan, and pick up your activity level. 

Focus on your food choices. If you are at a party where there is a buffet, check out the food choices and decide which ones you will pick – before you take your plate. If appetizers are served, choose lower-fat options. such as raw vegetables and salsa or shrimp cocktail. Avoid any fried appetizers. Start your meal off with a salad and vegetables before choosing the starch and meat entrees.

Try to use a smaller plate so you won’t be tempted to overeat. Then move away from the buffet table as quickly as possible and socialize. If you are bringing a dish to the buffet, bring something that’s healthy – not too high in calories or fat.

Suggestions might be a fruit salad, garden salad, fresh veggie platter or a hot vegetable. To avoid getting any food-related illness over the holidays, don’t forget food safety l. Remember to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Sit down to eat, relax and savor your food. Eat more slowly, enjoying every bite. 

Drink in moderation. If you drink alcohol, remember to eat food at the same time. Limit the number of alcoholic drinks to one drink for women, and two drinks for men. 

Take care of yourself. The holidays can be stressful. Reduce stress by making sure you take time for breakfast and lunch. Eating regularly scheduled meals can make it easy to stay with your meal plan. Healthy eating, regular activity and getting plenty of sleep will give you more energy throughout the day. Drop activities that aren’t really necessary to allow for others that the holidays bring. 

With the leftover turkey from your holiday feasts, try this recipe to get nutrients and a healthy meal into your schedule. 

Turkey Scaloppini and Creamy Mushroom Sauce: 

1 1/4 pounds boneless turkey breast (leftover if you choose) 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 teaspoon plus ½ teaspoon crushed dried thyme

1 garlic clove, minced 

1 (8 ounce) package sliced mushrooms 

1/4 cup sherry (optional) 

1/3 cup water 

1 (15 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup 

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 

Wrap the turkey breasts in plastic wrap and place on a cutting board. With a mallet gently pound each cutlet until thin (about 1/8-inch thick). 

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the thyme over the turkey and place in the skillet. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through. Transfer the turkey to a plate and cover. 

Add the garlic and mushrooms to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute. Add the sherry if you choose, water, soup, Worcestershire sauce and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme to the skillet. Whisk together and simmer on low for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Return the turkey to the pan and coat with the sauce. Simmer the turkey in the sauce for 5 more minutes before serving. And Enjoy! 

Let us enjoy the holidays with best wishes for a Healthy, Happy New Year with God’s blessing to all! 

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