Tag Archives: healthier foods

12 Naughty Holiday Foods

holidays-holiday-foods-fullThe holidays mean parties and family gatherings. And it means a buffet of delicious holiday treats. Lots of holiday foods are healthy – filled with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. However, they can also be loaded up with calories.

Don’t assume that foods are healthy just because they are normally low in calories. Many dishes have been modified with additional ingredients, such as added sugar and fats, to create a fun and festive treat. That also means additional calories.

Here are 12 foods that are on the holiday naughty list and healthier options you can enjoy instead:

Turkey Skin
The skin of turkey and chicken is loaded with saturated fat. Dark meat also have more fat per bite than white meat. Serve yourself turkey or other white meat without the skin.

Stuffing
Stuffing is filled with butter and high-fat meats like sausage. A single scoop of stuffing may have 550 calories. Use low-sodium chicken broth instead of butter, and try low-fat chicken or fruit instead of fatty meats. Or, you can even make stuffing with wild rice instead.

Green Bean Casserole
While green beans are a vegetable rich in vitamins and fiber, the casserole doesn’t offer as many health benefits. The onion toppings, butter and cream that are used to create the dish can contain over 750 calories and over 4,000 milligrams of salt. Stick with plain green beans and skip the rest.

Buttery Mashed Potatoes
Homemade mashed potatoes often contain whole milk, butter and salt. Instead, mash the potatoes with low-fat milk or low sodium, fat-free chicken stock. Then, skip the butter and salt.

Swedish Meatballs
Meatballs may be high in protein, but each meatball can have as many as 400 calories with eggs, bread and cream added to make them. Beef broth can also add up to 50% of your daily recommended allowance of sodium. Choose lean meats without the added fattening ingredients.

Cranberry Sauce
Cranberries may be a super fruit, filled with antioxidants and fiber, however a serving of cranberry sauce contains around 200 calories and twice as much sugar as homemade pumpkin pie. Stick with the pumpkin pie!

Pecan Pie
Although pecans are packed with healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, pecan pie is filled with sugar and calories. A slice of pecan pie can have more than 500 calories. Try nibbling on a bowl of mixed nuts or a small slice of pumpkin pie instead.

Carmel Popcorn
You may receive a gift of a large tin of carmel popcorn. While popcorn on its own is a healthy, whole-grain snack, adding sugary carmel only packs on calories. Try plain popcorn instead – it’s just as satisfying without the extra fat.

Cakes and Cookies
You may crave carbohydrates in the fall and winter. You want to avoid sweets, but you also know that carbs taste so good and make you feel good. Snack on whole-grain cereals and crackers to satisfy your carb cravings.

Eggnog
Mix together alcohol, heavy cream, eggs and sugar, and you’ve got a recipe with about 340 calories and 19 grams of fat. Make a low calorie eggnog with skim milk, egg substitutes and artificial sweeteners. Or skip the eggnog and have a cup of green tea.

Mixed Drinks
Cocktails can also be surprisingly high in calories. Mix up a wine spritzer by adding a splash of wine and sparkling water to pomegranate or cranberry juice. You cut calories and include fruit in your diet.

Chocolate
Milk chocolate is high in fat and low in nutrients. Go for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa, but still eat it in moderation. Even better, choose dark chocolate with heart-healthy nuts.

‘Tis the season for tasty foods. If you know which foods are naughty versus healthy, you can make good choices and enjoy yourself during the holidays!

12 Simple Ways to Eat Less and Feel Better

usda my plate-984891711_v2.grid-4x2Do you eat when you’re bored? Stressed? Or wait until you feel starved and then overeat? Is it hard to judge portions, or do you end up with super-sized meals at restaurants?

Many factors can contribute to how much you eat. The good news is that you can control most of these factors and eventually turn them into healthy eating habits.

Here are 12 simple ways you can eat less on a daily basis and feel better about what you eat:

Serve yourself healthy foods first.
Load your plate up with the healthiest food choices first. Whether you’re eating at home, a restaurant or a buffet line, dish up the veggies, whole grains, and fruits before the fattier meats or side dishes. Then, you can go back and sample a few less healthy options or have a small dessert.

Use smaller plates and bowls.
The size of your dishes gives your brain cues on how much you’re “supposed” to eat. The bigger the dish means that you can have more food. In a study, people at a Chinese buffet who got a large plate served themselves 52% more food, and ate 45% more of it, than those who had smaller plates.

Use taller glasses.
Just like less food looks like more food on a smaller plate, height makes things look larger than width, even if the volume of both glasses is the same. You can cut down on liquid calories by choosing taller glasses rather than shorter, fatter ones.

Eat protein for breakfast.
Most studies recommend eating breakfast every day to help kick start your metabolism. But, you only get the true benefits of breakfast if it’s high in protein. More protein can suppress your appetite and reduce subsequent eating throughout the day. Skip the pancakes and waffles, and grab an omelet instead.

Eat three meals a day.
While we’ve all heard that we should eat more, smaller meals throughout the day, research is showing that three bigger meals a day may still be the best way to control your appetite. However, skipping meals will make controlling your appetite more difficult. If you eat healthy at regular meals, you shouldn’t need any additional food.

Hide unhealthy snacks.
Studies have shown that people eat a lot more food when the food is visible, rather than putting it away where it can’t be seen. The harder food is to get to may also deter some of your snacking habits. Even better yet, keep tempting junk foods out of the house. And, on the flip side, keep healthy foods prominently displayed and easy to reach.

Order the “small” choice.
A larger container or plate can tempt you to eat more food. You may be full or even think it doesn’t taste that good, and still feel obligated to eat it. When it comes to movie popcorn, french fries, or fountain drinks, choose the smallest size option and you’ll eat less.

Take a doggy bag.
Restaurant portions are most likely going to set you up to overeat. You want a good deal for your money, but those large portions can contain more than 1,200 calories without including dessert. One trick is to divide the food on your plate in half before you start eating. Then stop eating when you’ve finished half and ask for a to-go container. You’ll have a healthier meal and leftovers for tomorrow.

Pack your lunch for work.
Even better than eating out for lunch during the week, pack your own lunch. You will be able to control the portions and select a balance of healthy foods. It’s also more cost effective and can help ensure that you eat those leftovers.

Know your weaknesses.
We all have food weaknesses. The food you can’t resist. The food you can’t stop eating. Or the food you eat even if you’re not hungry. Think about your food weaknesses. Once you recognize what they are, you can learn to avoid eating them. Don’t buy them at the grocery store. Bypass the co-worker who always brings yummy homemade desserts. You can avoid the food until you gain the strength to give up the craving.

Don’t eat from a package.
When you can’t see how much you’re eating, you’re more likely eat double or triple the proper portion. Who can eat just one potato chip out of the bag? Use a plate, bowl or even a napkin so that you can see how much you’re going to eat. And put the package away so you won’t be tempted to dump out more.

Eat slowly and savor your food.
Eating should be enjoyable. There is a benefit to slowing down and appreciating your food. Take your time between bites and chew thoroughly. When you eat more slowly, you can recognize when you’re beginning to feel full. You can stop eating before you clean your plate and feel too full. Drink water while you’re eating. These simple steps can help you cut back on unnecessary calories.

By following these simple tips, you can learn to eat less, still feel full and feel better about your eating habits.