The holiday season is upon us with an abundance of social events to host and attend. It is very easy to consume too many rich foods that can lead to weight gain and impact blood pressure and blood sugar levels. By choosing wisely when planning and enjoying holiday menus, you can enjoy good health with family and friends.
Try these MyPlate tips to create your healthy holiday plate:
- Use small 6-8 inch plates instead of dinner plates. A smaller plate may give the impression that you are eating more when you are actually consuming less.
- Choose lean protein for holiday meals. Turkey breast is the leanest choice. Baked or broiled fish is also a good option. However, other meats may also be acceptable. Tenderloins of beef or pork tend to contain less fat than a standing rib roast or fresh ham.
- Limit deli style cold cuts when possible. Ham, salami, and other sandwich meats tend to be high in sodium. Other meats high in fat and sodium are sausages, bacon, and wieners.
- Serve whole grain breads and rolls to add fiber to the menu. Consider using whole grain pastas or brown rice in salads and casseroles.
- Offer a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as part of the holiday buffet so guests can fill half their plates with foods lower in fat, sodium and sugar.
- As an alternative to desserts loaded with sugar and fat, serve fruit chunks along with lower fat vanilla yogurt for dipping. A medium oatmeal cookie with raisins and a few chopped pecans can satisfy a sweet tooth without destroying the diet.
- Alternate sugary beverages with water. Many calories are consumed by mindlessly sipping punch, eggnog, and other holiday drinks.
- In the madness of the holiday season, don’t forget to schedule physical activity. Those five pounds that most Americans gain during the holidays might be prevented. Exercise can also help keep blood sugar and blood pressure levels in control.
For more information about preparing healthy holiday meals, visit www.choosemyplate.gov or www.lsuagcenter.com.
Brittney J. Seay
Assistant Area Nutrition Agent-EFNEP Supervisor
Madison, Richland, East & West Carroll Parishes