Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to Stay Trim During the Holidays

With Thanksgiving around the corner, the mere thought of another feasting holiday like Christmas might weigh you down. Doesn't it seem like Santa always leaves a few too many gifts (in the form of cookies, candies and second helpings) behind — even after the New Year?

CC Photo by dotpolka on Flickr
If you follow a few pointers on healthy living, the holiday season doesn’t have to totally shatter your diet or fitness routine.

Let Yourself Eat ... A Lot

These holiday get-togethers usually center around a meal — or if your family's like mine, the whole day is one big grazing-feast. Either way, these meals can turn into all-day events. In this case, don’t try to starve yourself after your one meal. You’ll end up breaking down and binging on a big slice of pecan pie. Instead, try to keep snacking on raw veggies such as carrots, broccoli, celery, and bell peppers. 

Rather than allowing yourself to eat one big meal, indulge a little more than normal. Just continue to make healthier choices.

Bring a Dish You Can Brag About

Food is often the true centerpiece during the months of November and December. However, food shouldn’t be something you dread when you’re getting ready to celebrate with your friends and family. There are strategies for maintaining that summertime body in this sweet and savory season.

Volunteer to bring a side dish or two, and prepare them the healthy way. The more food you prepare yourself, the more options you will have to choose from at the family dinner table. Make sure there will be a vegetable dish. With a plate of greens, you can fill yourself up before plowing into the traditional treats.

Peachy-Keen Cobbler
But don’t assume that your grandma’s famous green bean casserole is a healthy platter. Casseroles and even salads are often soaked in butter and oil. You can be sure you know what you’re eating if you bring a similar yet healthier dish. Other guests won’t even tell the difference.

Want to bring a healthy dessert you can really pig out on? Try my low-fat, low-sugar Peachy-Keen Cobbler (email me for a free, fun recipe card). Here's another one I want to try:

Holiday Harvest Kale Salad (from Hungry-Girl.com)

1/6th of recipe (about 1 1/4 cups): 102 calories, 2g fat, 126mg sodium, 20g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 9.5g sugars, 3g protein -- PointsPlus® value 3* (Makes 6 servings)

Still skeptical of the kale craze? This insanely tasty, light 'n fruity flavor-fest will win over even the most die-hard doubters out there!


  • 8 cups chopped kale leaves 
  • One 10.5-oz. can mandarin orange segments packed in juice, drained
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup light raspberry (or other fruity) vinaigrette
  • Holiday Harvest Kale Salad | Hungry-Girl.com
  • Optional seasoning: salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss to mix.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Mix well, and enjoy!

Choose from the Other Dishes Carefully

The main course is usually some kind of meat. Whatever it is, steer clear of the red meat or fried chicken, and pile your plate with lean, white turkey. Full of protein and very low in fat, all white turkey is a great choice for the Christmas meal.

Pumpkin Pie Bars | SarahFit.com
Don’t dwell too much on what you should eat and what you should not eat. If your mind is consumed with matters of food then food is all you will think about. Feel free to indulge in your own healthier, leaner dishes that you make and share with your family. It will be the best gift you get all Christmas!

I'll be indulging in Sarah Dussault's low-fat pumpkin pie bars. Watch the video how to make them in FaithVillage.

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