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LMQC Nutritionist blogger, Jeni Tackett, says as long as you’re in control of your grocery list, you can ward off those unwanted pounds that seem to find us during the holidays by making a few simple ingredient substitutions.

by Nutritionist Blogger, Jeni Tackett, RD, LD

The holiday season is upon us, and with it, the specter of weight gain. But, never fear! As you write your grocery lists, substitute a few ingredients to lower the calorie count. Here are a few simple ways:

Leave the pasta in the box and the potatoes in the bag

Substitute low carbohydrate vegetables for pasta and potatoes: Fill your plate with steamed broccoli, green beans, or a big salad. Increasing low-calorie, low-carbohydrate vegetables in your diet is healthful and can keep your waistline trim. Half of your plate should be filled with tasty veggies.

Be mindful of your ingredients

Use healthful substitutions in recipes. Your favorite holiday recipes can be made more healthy with some simple substitutions:

  • Use evaporated nonfat milk in place of heavy cream or whole milk.
  • Whip mashed potatoes with evaporated milk or chicken or vegetable broth.
  • Make gravy with nonfat milk instead of 2% or whole milk.
  • Substitute wild rice or quinoa as a healthier whole grain stuffing.
  • Use nonfat yogurt or sour cream in dips.

Always have healthy options at meals and parties.

If you are attending a party, bring a fruit salad or fresh vegetables and low-fat dip. At your own family gatherings, have healthy foods along with the richer, high fat holiday treats. You might be surprised how much adults and children enjoy healthy foods at meals and parties!

Don’t skip meals.

Although it’s tempting to skip breakfast and work up a big appetite for dinner, you may end up overeating. Make sure to eat a healthy breakfast before a large meal at lunch time. Have a fresh veggie tray out to snack on while you cook.

Watch liquid calories.

Make a low calorie holiday drink for adults and children with club soda and a splash of pomegranate juice garnished with a cherry. Avoid high calorie beverages such as eggnog (or limit to a small portion). Remember that alcoholic beverages add calories and increase your appetite. Practice portion control with food and beverages and drink plenty of water.

Food is an important part of the holiday season, but you can also make traditions that do not center around the kitchen. Take a walk after your holiday feast, play outside, or – if the weather is frightful – play indoors with the kids.

The holiday season is a time to enjoy the company of family and friends. Enjoy the season and resolve to continue healthful eating habits all year long!

Jeni Tackett

Jeni Tackett

Nutritionist Blogger

Jeni is a registered and licensed dietitian for Rock Valley Health. Jeni counsels her clients on weight loss and nutrition.