Monday, December 15, 2008

Healthy Holiday

"It's that time of year"...when you have a party to attend every other evening, someone brings a Christmas "treat" to work every day, food presents are arriving at your doorstep by the second, cocktails are flowing, life is crazy and hectic leaving little time for exercise and meal planning (and lots of opportunities for eating out or picking up take-out)...I'm already feeling it!

This past weekend I had a party on Friday and Sunday night. Next weekend is the same. Then another party on Tuesday, a lunch with friends on Tuesday too, Christmas Eve with my dad's side of the family and Christmas day with my mom's side. Then I leave for Atlanta for New Years...and then it's Mardi Gras...

What am I going to do? Well, I might be busy and get a little stressed, but I'm not going to gain weight. What's my plan?
  • make time to exercise - I do it first thing in the morning, before my day gets going and I run out of time
  • eat extra healthy when I have control - when I am eating at home, it will be lots of salads, fruits, vegetables, chicken, yogurt
  • eat breakfast everyday - on a normal day I will have oatmeal or an English muffin; if it's the day after a party/big meal I will have a lighter breakfast like yogurt and fruit (maybe with some granola)
  • give away (or throw away) temptations - don't feel guilty about throwing out the left-over dessert from a party or those yummy cookies someone baked for you...what's a bigger waste? throwing away food or throwing away your waist line?
  • get back on track THE NEXT DAY - post-party day for me: I already have run and had pomegranate oatmeal with milk to drink; I have a salad planned for lunch, and vegetable soup with a turkey sandwich for dinner...and I'm sure I'll have an apple at some point

I try not to give away unhealthy food gifts (i.e. dessert) at Christmas, I figure everyone gets enough of them and no one really needs them. Last year I gave away homemade hummus and crackers and this year I'm doing homemade whole wheat English muffins with pumpkin butter (now you know Mel!). One of my friends, Danielle, is giving away homemade granola.

I also try to bring a healthy dish to the parties I attend. Friday night I made stuffed mushrooms. Last night the party was at my house and I served the following:

stuffed mushrooms
green salad with lemon vinaigrette and Parmesan
wild rice salad
roasted yellow squash
goat cheese & spinach stuffed chicken breasts
peppermint brownie bites

One of my friends made the punch and brownies, but I made the rest and will post each of these recipes over the course of this check back if you are interested!

When you have control of the menu, why not make it healthy? Dinner was so good last night and no one missed the calories! Who says you have to serve unhealthy food around the holidays?

What about at a party where I don't have control of the menu? I make sure I eat something before I go (maybe an apple) and then I don't eat things that I could have on any given chips and salsa for me! Or crackers and cheese, average desserts (brownies, sugar cookies, etc), store-bought items...this way I eliminate half of my choices and don't waste calories on things that aren't special. I fill-up my plate once and then only go back for vegetable seconds.

Here is an article from with more tips for having a healthy holiday without gaining any weight. One thing in the article that I don't agree with is their suggestion for low-calorie and low-fat appetizers/snacks at a party. It recommends that you

"Try some low-fat dips with vegetable crudités, or bowls of raw nuts and dried fruits."

Nuts are not low-fat or low-cal and I wouldn't snack on them at a party...its too easy to go overboard (1/4 cup of peanuts has about 200 calories and 18 g of fat). And although dried fruit is fat free, its still calories dense (1/4 cup of raisins has about 110 calories).

Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. I made the blog! Do I get some of those english muffins for Christmas?