Plan ahead and avoid packing on unwanted holiday pounds!
with Elaine Hastings, RD
With parties, family dinners and other holiday happenings, hosts are likely to find their refrigerators stuffed with extra helpings. Eating leftovers can contribute to adding unwanted pounds during these festive times.
Make the most of your leftover ham, turkey and trimmings by creating nutritious meals and snacks to keep them from weighing you down. As a host for holiday meals, plan ahead and buy plenty of plastic containers to send your guests home with food to limit the amount of extra food in your refrigerator.
In addition, you can take a few containers into the office for your colleagues to enjoy. If you prefer, keep some of the lower-calorie options such as fruits, vegetables and white meat from the turkey for you and your family. These leftovers can be used to make healthy meals or snacks over the next several days.
There are several simple ways to use your holiday leftovers.
Be creative and seek out healthy, low-carbohydrate and low-fat recipes. For example, use low- or fat-free tortillas to wrap up turkey and vegetables for a healthy lunch. Add a small amount of cranberry sauce to give your turkey wrap more festive flavor.
Use turkey, ham or other meat on top of greens and vegetables to create a healthy salad. Add fruit, low- or fat-free cheese and a few nuts into the salad for a scrumptious mix.
For a high-protein breakfast, use egg whites, turkey or ham, vegetables and a hint of low-fat cheese. It’s also a great time of year to make homemade soups using extra meats and vegetables.
In addition, you can make nutritious snacks such as vegetable trays and turkey and cheese on whole grain crackers.
Another way to prevent overeating during the holidays is to control the portions you serve yourself and guests. After dishing out appropriate serving sizes to your friends and family, you can immediately put the leftovers into a container and place them into the refrigerator or freezer.
Be proactive and dish out a serving size that equals approximately 200 calories or less to control your portion sizes. By removing the food from the table, you can curb the temptation for a second helping.
While it is often tradition for guests to move from the dining table to the couch to watch football or take a rest, invite the group outside for a stroll around the neighborhood or engage them in a friendly game of football. Encouraging guests to be active will limit the urge to overeat while burning some of those high-calorie helpings they’ve enjoyed.
By serving your guests appropriate portion sizes and providing them with the remaining food to create healthy meals and snacks, you can help your loved ones avoid those extra holiday pounds. Now that’s something to be thankful for!