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Stay Slim Over the Holidays

Samara Felesky-Hunt, B.Sc., R.D. Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist practicing in Calgary, Alberta.

The holiday season is here, and it comes with lots of festivities that include lots of food. Christmas baking and festive beverages. The extra calories surround us and it can be difficult to keep nutrition on the straight and narrow. It’s a time to enjoy the indulgences with our friends and family but we must not forget about healthy living. In the New Year many of us find the added inches to our waistlines or an extra few pounds on the scale frustrating.

Here are seven EASY tips so you don't lose track during this festive time:

  1. Follow the 80:20 rule. Make sure that 80% of the time you eat healthy and are making good choices. Enjoy and pick only your true favourites Christmas treats for added calories, such as shortbread or the extra pieces of gourmet cheeses. Don't waste calories on ones you don't care for.
  2. Keep your eye on portion sizes as it is not what you eat, but how much you eat. This time of year your eyes can be bigger than your stomach. Try to serve yourself a smaller portion of food then last year. Remember you can always go back for more if you are still hungry.
  3. Keep fluids up. Have water or a sparkling water in your hands at all times. We often forget to drink enough during this hectic season and it can make us feel drained. Being well hydrated also reduces salt or sweet cravings. When at a party, add bit of pomegranate juice to your water to be festive.
  4. Watch the calories in Christmas beverages. One egg nog (2 percent, 250 mL) can be over 250 calories, not to mention the extra calories if alcohol is added. Choose to have sparkling water between festive or alcoholic drinks. Try virgin Caesars or cranberry juice spritzers in keeping with the season. If you do drink alcohol, do so in moderation and plan to have water with each drink to pace your intake and to stay hydrated.
  5. Avoid skipping meals. Have breakfast and healthy lunch so you are not tempted to overeat later in the day or tempted by Christmas baking on the counter. Keep your fruit and veggies on hand to stable your blood sugars.
  6. Add more festive vegetables, salads and unique fruits to meals. Try to have 1/2 or a third of your plate full of squash, roasted vegetables, soups and salads. For appetizers, keep with your favourites but add zucchini, cucumber sticks, or carrots to dip into spreads instead of crackers. Serve hummus and salsas along with cheese plates.
  7. Let the holiday spirit move you. Enjoy regular activity during the holidays. Strive for 30 to 60 minutes of activity a day. Exercise not only will give more energy to cope with the hectic holiday bustle but it can help to compensate for some of extra festive calories.

Make these healthy living tips part of your routine for this year’s holiday season. When it comes time to writing those New Year’s resolutions in 2019, instead of adding “lose holiday weight”, it will be “stay on track with healthy living”.

Christmas Spice Cake

A festive light dessert when served with fresh fruit.

500 mL flour
5 mL baking powder
5 mL baking soda
2 mL nutmeg
5 mL cinnamon
5 mL allspice
1 mL ginger
125 mL butter or or 125 mL applesauce 1 egg
1 egg white
5 mL vanilla
250 mL sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
125 mL walnut halves (optional)

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and ginger. Set aside.

Cream butter, with electric beater until smooth. Add egg, egg white and vanilla. Blend for 1 minute. Add sugar and stir in.

Add flour mixture and yogurt alternately to creamed mixture, blending until smooth.

Pour into a 9 inch square baking pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Top with walnuts if you wish. Bake at 350 F for 25 – 30 minutes.

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