7 Simple, Healthy Holiday Swaps

The holiday season is in full swing! If you’re goal is to avoid those extra holiday pounds this year, then these simple changes will help. The truth is that most people only gain 1-2 pounds during the holidays. The problem, however, is that they never lose those pounds, so after 5 years, that’s a 5-10 pound weight gain and after 10 years, that’s a 10-20 pound weight gain. After 20 years, you get the picture. You can do the math too. So let’s put a stop to holiday weight gain with these simple strategies.

#1: Skip Full Fat Dips. Make dips with plain, regular or Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, cream cheese or mayonnaise. Another option is to substitute hummus or salsa in place of a creamy dip. These swaps cut out 35-50 calories per tablespoon, which easily adds up to a savings of 200+ calories.

 Vegetables and low fat Ranch Dip

Vegetables and low fat Ranch Dip

#2: Skip the meatball appetizer and choose shrimp with cocktail sauce instead. Shrimp is a great protein source without the extra fat calories, making this a great choice to fill up on, along with a plate of vegetables. Speaking of vegetables…

 Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce

Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce

#3: Bring a vegetable tray with hummus or low fat Ranch dip to your next party. By whisking plain Greek yogurt with a couple Tablespoons of nonfat milk and a packet of dry Ranch dressing mix, you can whip up a healthy dip in no time. By bringing the vegetable tray, you are sure to have a way to cover half your plate in vegetables to help cut down on the total calories eaten by the end of the party. Another great appetizer to serve or bring to a party is my simple, slow-cooker butternut squash soup. Give it a try!

#4: Skip the Green Bean Casserole and make roasted carrots or sauteed green beans instead. A 2/3-cup serving has a whopping 225 calories, while the same portion of roasted carrots or green beans has about 60-75 calories. Same volume of food with 1/3 of the calories.

#5: Choose Roasted Sweet Potatoes instead of mashed potatoes or candied yams. You get all the great nutrition from the sweet potatoes without all the extra calories from the butter, cream, and sugar added to the traditional holiday potato dishes.

#6: Instead of Prime Rib or other high fat beef, choose white meats (chicken or turkey breast) or fish as your entree. Even dark meat chicken will be lower in fat and therefore, calories than Prime Rib.

 #7: Skip Pecan Pie. By choosing Pumpkin Pie you save about 200 calories, while getting vitamin A, calcium and iron from the canned pumpkin. Another tasty dessert is my Apple-Walnut Crisp. By eliminating the pie crust and using a yummy, crunchy oat topping, you save on calories while splurging on the flavors of the season. Your friends and family will rave about it!

 Cheers to a Healthy, Happy Holiday!