Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gobble Gobble

So, I don't know what you're currently doing, but I just spent the past hour running laundry, washing dishes, peeling and rinsing potatoes and chopping up spinach. Productive, ey? Guess I have to be. We're packing up the car and hitting the road bright and early tomorrow morning (we did NOT feel like fighting our way through traffic today) to spend Thanksgiving with my boyfriend's family in Florida. And since I know the kitchen will be packed with people tomorrow, I'm trying to tackle the cooking of my side dishes tonight.

Speaking of holiday meals, according to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat tomorrow. You heard that right - 4,500 freakin' calories! And sadly, those figures only include snacking and the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, not breakfast or late evening munching. But there are ways to cut down on some of the gastronomical excess. Reducing the amount of fat and calories through simple substitutions can help prevent the average weight a person will gain during the holiday season. Extra exercise can also ward off the pounds.

Here are some tips:
  • If cooking, provide low-fat foods, or ask if you can bring a low-fat dish. You can reduce the calories in a meal by using lower-calorie products. For example:
    * Use fat-free soup in your favorite casserole (fat free mushroom soup has 70 calories per 1/2 cup serving vs. 120 for the regular)
    * Use chicken bouillon to simmer the celery and onions for your turkey stuffing - instead of sautéing them in butter (one bouillon cube has 5 calories, a tablespoon of butter has 102 calories)
    * Fruit pie filling has 90 calories per 1/3 cup serving; the light version has 60 and the sugar-free version only has 35
    * Add sucralose instead of sugar when baking pies or casseroles 
  • After the meal, start a physical fitness-related tradition -- a holiday walk or friendly game of football, for instance. We'll be heading out on a six mile hike the Friday after Turkey Day. And I plan to bring my gym shoes so I can go for a run when we arrive tomorrow. 
  • Prepare for handling your worst temptations; if you want both pecan and pumpkin pie, take a tiny slice of each, instead of an average serving.
Are you cooking tomorrow? Any recipes worth sharing? 

P.S. For anyone deep frying a turkey, I'm jealous...that stuff is amazing. But be CAREFUL! Check out this hilarious (but educational) video about deep fryer safety courtesy of Captain James T. Kirk. Enjoy and be have a wonderful - and safe - Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

'Tis the season...to diet?


We have been attending way too many parties the past few weeks. Birthdays, housewarming gatherings, holiday shindigs, baby showers...you name it, we've been to it. And thanks to all these festivities, my pants are crazy tight right now. And unfortunately, the height of the holiday season has yet to begin. Needless to say, I'm a wee bit concerned about additional weight gain heading into the new year. So what's a social butterfly to do this hectic time of year? Sucralose.org has some great tips on how to manage the waistline during the holidays. Here are a few of the highlights.

Be Realistic: Consider shifting your goal from weight loss to weight maintenance. Dieting through the holidays doesn't have to leave you feeling deprived. With a little pre-planning, you can have a healthy and happy holiday dinner. Using low-fat ingredients, like reduced-fat mayonnaise or cream, and sugar substitutes in your dishes can cut hundreds of calories.

Manage Stress: Stress is one of the main reasons why people overeat during the holidays. There is stress related to interacting with family members, the financial stress of buying presents and the general stress of hosting holiday events. Take the stress out of hosting by planning the meal ahead of time, ordering takeaways or sharing the labour by asking others to bring food.

Get Active: Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you ever indulge in your favorite foods. Eat less and exercise more is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays. Staying active will keep you from veering off the weight loss track and it can be a great way to bond with your loved ones. Make fitness a family adventure. Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner. It is a wonderful way for families to get physical exercise and enjoy the holiday together.

Make a Plan: Think about what you're going to eat before your next holiday event. If you can't resist a huge slice of pie, what will you cut back on to compensate for it? What will your plate look like? What will leave you feeling satisfied? If you're not preparing the meal yourself, ask your host if it would be all right to bring a dish that meets your dietary needs. Consider bringing a sugar-free or low-carbohydrate dessert or talk to a fellow dieter before the holidays. Plan to give each other moral support throughout the season.

These are tips I'll certainly be adopting the next few months. Wish me luck!