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Holiday Wellness Tips

From Your SOTP Wellness Team

The holidays are often filled with time-honored traditions that include some of our favorite meals and foods. As you celebrate, think of little changes you can make this holiday season to create healthier meals and active days.

How calorie dense are my favorite holiday foods?

High calorie-dense foods pack a lot of calories and tend to be heavily processed, low in nutrients and fiber, and high in fat and added sugars.  Below is a list of high-calorie dense foods:

  • Fatty meats such as sausage, prime rib, bacon
  • Butter, margarine, lard
  • Snacks and treats like potato chips, pastries and chocolate candies

Low calorie-dense foods have fewer calories per bite, a variety of vitamins and minerals, and are low in fat and added sugars.  The fiber content of these foods tends to be higher, leading to increased fullness and a lesser likelihood of overeating.

Examples include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains and beans
  • Lean proteins and low-fat milk products

When planning your holiday meals and snacks, try to include more low-calorie dense foods and limit items that are high-calorie dense.

Sneaky Holiday Calories:

  • Egg Nog (1 cup) 343 calories
  • Hot Buttered Rum (1 cup) 218 calories
  • Irish coffee (1 cup) 220 calories
  • Mixed Nuts (1/2 cup) 440 calories
  • Chips (1 oz) & Dip (1 tbsp) 225 calories
  • Fruitcake (1 average slice) 324 calories
  • Cheesecake (1 average slice) 372 calories
  • Pecan Pie (1/8 of 9-inch pie) 480 calories
  • Mashed potatoes (1/2 cup)
  • & gravy (1/2 cup) 300 calories
  • Green Bean Casserole 225 calories

Better Options:

  • Cider or sparkling grape juice
  • 2/3 cup 120 calories
  • Wine/Champagne (1/2 cup) 120 calories
  • Mixed Raw Vegetables (1/2 cup) 25 calories
  • Boiled Shrimp & Sauce (2 oz) 80 calories
  • Chocolate mints (2 pieces) 60 calories
  • Chocolate Covered Cherry (1) 75 calories
  • Gingerbread cookie (small) 100 calories
  • Snickerdoodle cookie (small) 100 calories
  • Pumpkin pie (1/8 of 9 in pie) 180 calories
  • Baked Potato & Sour cream 150 calories

Portions have doubled in the last 25 years.  Research shows that people eat more when they are given a larger amount.  Eating smaller portions is another easy way to reduce some of the calories from your diet.

Keep an eye on portions at holiday parties

  • Grab a smaller plate
  • Load up only once
  • Eat slowly and enjoy each bite
  • Mingle away from the appetizers
  • Once you finish your portion, play with the kids or walk the dog
  • Chew gum instead

Low-Calorie Egg Nog

Source: American Diabetes Association Holiday Cookbook by Betty Wedman

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 4 cups skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tsp sweetener such as Splenda
  • ½ teaspoon brandy or rum flavoring
  • Ground nutmeg to taste

Combine the egg yolks and milk in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture coats a metal spoon.  Cool.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add the egg custard mixture with the vanilla, sweetener, and flavoring.  Mix lightly.  Cover and chill.  Pour into serving cups and sprinkle with nutmeg.

½ cup= 70 calories, 6 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams protein, 3 grams of fat

Contact Jamie Patel  jamie.patel@nm.org