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Holiday healthy eating

By Shana Kraus
Registered Dietitian, LMNT

The holiday season is quickly  approaching and staying true to healthy eating is sometimes easier said than done. With extra temptations and numerous holiday parties even the most diligent healthful eater is likely to stray from their eating plan.
Here are five tips to battle the dreaded holiday weight gain.
Look at the whole buffet table before making your selections:         Do you ever find yourself half way through the buffet line with an overflowing plate and a feeling of disappointment because you can’t possibly fit one more thing on your plate? Sneak a peak at the whole buffet table before making selections. Fill half your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables leaving less room for high fat/calorie holiday foods.
Watch portions sizes: Watching portion sizes is a great way to ward off weight gain. If you like to taste test more than one dessert try taking small bite-size pieces of a couple desserts. This will keep the amount of calories down while still allowing you to satisfy that holiday sweet tooth.
Be aware of what you are drinking:  Calories in beverages can quickly add up. If you are going to have eggnog have a small glass and then switch to a different low calorie beverage. Alcoholic beverages can also provide numerous calories that can add up quickly.     
Eat a small healthy snack before the holiday event:     Going to an all-you-can-eat buffet with a growling stomach is a recipe for overeating. Have a small healthy snack beforehand to ward off the impulse to overeat. Try yogurt and a piece of fruit or low fat string cheese and whole wheat crackers.
Modify recipes: If you are taking a dish to a party make a healthy version of a classic dish. Many people will be excited to try something healthy2. You may even decide that the healthier version is preferred by many people. See the recipe below for an apple crisp instead of apple pie. (Recipe from: extension.org  Quick and Healthy Recipes)
Don’t forget to listen to your hunger cues. Ask yourself if you really are hungry or if it just really looks good. Remember, moderation is key. Happy Holidays!
Apple Crisp
Ingredients:
Canola oil cooking spray
4 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into thin slices or bite-size pieces
1/2 cup raisins
3 tablespoons 100% apple juice
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small piece
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine apples, raisins, and apple juice in bowl, toss well and set aside. In another bowl, combine flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. With pastry blender or knife and fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Transfer apple mixture to baking dish. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over surface.         Lightly coat top with cooking spray.
Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20 more minutes or until apples are tender.
Remove from oven and let stand on wire rack at least 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.
Total Servings (Yield): 6                                                                                              Serving Size: 2 2/3-inch X 4-inch piece                                                                      
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 160 calories, 2g fat, 36g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g protein