6 Easy Ways to Cut Calories during the Holidays

6 Easy Ways to Cut Calories during the Holidays

If you’re like us, the turkey will not be the only thing that’s stuffed at the holiday dinner table. It’s easy to overindulge during the holidays with buffets of delicious and calorie-laden foods at your fingertips, but, if you want to avoid having to sew elastic bands into your pants come January, we have some tips to help you eat healthy this holiday season.

Here are some smart holiday food and drink choices:

  1. Veggies and hummus for an appetizer.  Before dinner, opt to fill up on fiber-rich vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers and celery instead of fried foods and cheeses. Dip the veggies in a low-fat ranch dip or a yummy hummus, and you’ll have a tasty and healthy appetizer!
  2. Dinner roll over stuffing. If you are craving some carbs during dinner, have a whole wheat dinner roll instead of a huge portion of stuffing which can set you back over 300 calories.
  3. Drink red wine or white wine spritzer. If you would like to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, go with red wine which has less sugar and more minerals than white wine. If you do prefer a sweeter white wine, try adding some soda or sparkling water to make a spritzer – a great way to limit your alcohol intake and calories.
  4. Sweet potatoes over buttery mashed potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a great source of calcium, potassium and vitamins A and C, while also being low in calories (just 140 per 1 ½ cups shredded). Instead of diving into a bowl of mashed potatoes full of butter and cream, take a scoop-full of roasted sweet potatoes with a dash of cinnamon.
  5. Stick with turkey. Turkey is a leaner choice in comparison to ham or beef tenderloin. Go with the white, skinless turkey breasts over the dark meat and you can save about 50 calories per serving.
  6. Pumpkin pie for dessert. Pumpkin pie is your best bet for dessert. At just around 300 calories, it’s a slimmer choice compared to apple or pecan pie.

Pumpkin pieNow let’s be realistic, you may not be able to stick to your diet (or even these tips) during the holidays, and that’s OK. If you do want to indulge in some higher calorie foods, try to keep the portions small and don’t go back for seconds.
Even if you do overdo it, forgive yourself and get back on track the next day. The most important thing to focus on during the holidays is spending quality time with your family and friends – even if that means finding ways to cope with your family dynamics .

Sources: WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Eating Well

Originally published August 10, 2015: Revised 2017