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Healthy Christmas Tips: Meals, Eggnog and Parties

How can I make a Christmas meal that will satisfy all my guests when some want the traditional fixin’s and others of us want to eat more healthfully?
It’s hard to please everyone, isn’t it? But here are a few tips.

  • For every over-the-top, high-calorie dish, serve two lower-calorie, more healthful ones. Think vegetables, vegetables and vegetables.
  • Try new, healthier recipes.
  • Start your meal with a large salad or other low-calorie dish.
  • Ask those wanting a healthier meal to pitch in by bringing an appropriate dish. Those wanting a traditional meal can help by bringing their favorite.
  • Provide dressings, gravies and sauces on the side.
  • Instead of the traditional pumpkin pie, serve it crustless. Call it pumpkin custard.
  • Dazzle your guests with presentation. Focus on the centerpiece, fancy ways to fold napkins and interesting garnishes.
JILL WEISENBERGER, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., registered dietitian in Virginia and consultant to the food industry with Jill Weisenberger Health Communications.

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Q. What’s a healthy eggnog alternative?
Good question because a small, 8-ounce glass of eggnog can run you upwards of 340 calories and 11 grams of saturated fat. Imagine all the food you can eat for that!

My favorite substitute is Silk Nog, made of soymilk, but it too can pack on the calories and pounds if you’re not careful. The same-size glass weighs in at 180 calories but no saturated fat.

Another option is to enjoy your favorite eggnog in a very small glass and only very rarely.

Q. How do I partake in parties while watching my weight?

Here are six healthy holiday-party tips:

  1. Plan ahead before you go. Have a small snack (about 150 calories) to curb your appetite. When you’re ravenous, you’ll eat anything in sight.
  2. Sample the items that look appealing, and leave the mundane choices behind.
  3. Take small portions. You can go back for more if you absolutely loved it.
  4. Do more socializing and less grazing.
  5. Be careful of empty calories in alcoholic beverages.
  6. If you overdo it, try balancing out the calories by increasing your exercise time the next day.
SANDRA MEYEROWITZ, M.P.H., R.D., L.D., registered dietitian and owner of Nutrition Works (offering individual, team, corporate and online services) in Louisville, Ky.

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Last updated and/or approved: December 2011.
Original article appeared in various issues of the former print magazine. Bios current as of those issues. This general health-care information is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.


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