Hello, and welcome to the Long Island Dietetic Association’s (LIDA) very first
blog! I am so excited to be a part of this new project. My name is Lisa, and I am
currently a Dietetic Intern at LIU Post. This blog is meant to bring you the latest
news in the world of food and nutrition. I hope to inspire all of you to lead healthy
lifestyles with quick tips, recipes, and the most recent scientific research in the
field of nutrition.
With the holidays fast approaching, I thought it would be appropriate for the first
official post to focus on healthy holiday eating. The holidays are a hectic time of
year for most people, and healthful eating habits often fall by the wayside. Here
are some tips to help you make it through this season satisfied, but not stuffed.
Tip #1: Plan ahead!
If you’re having Thanksgiving dinner at your house, planning ahead should be
simple. Remember, you’re in charge of the menu! While store-bought foods are
all well and good, many of them are packed with sodium, sugar, and other
ingredients that are unhealthy in large amounts. Making most of the dishes from
scratch allows you to have control of what is going into your food. Commonly
purchased canned items such as soup and cranberry sauce are easy to make,
and can be prepared ahead of time. Check out my recipe for a cauliflower and
leek soup! It has simple ingredients and half the calories of a cream-based soup!
Cauliflower Leek Soup Recipe
Planning on making mashed potatoes, or a dessert like cheesecake? Swapping
out some of the more calorie-dense ingredients may be beneficial. Consider
using Parmesan cheese, skim milk, light cream cheese or Greek yogurt to
provide the same creamy texture as their more fattening counterparts. Offering a
healthier dessert option, such as dark chocolate covered fruit, is another way to
beat the holiday bulge.
If you’re going elsewhere for the holidays, planning ahead can be a little more
difficult. Here are some tips to help you plan accordingly:
Tip #2: Eat Beforehand
Contrary to popular belief, “preparing your stomach” for a large meal can actually
be detrimental. Many people go into starvation mode on Thanksgiving to save
room for the much anticipated holiday fare. However, this can lead to overeating
out of sheer hunger when you sit down for dinner.
To avoid this binge-like behavior, it is important to make sure that your eating
stays consistent throughout the day. Have a good, hearty breakfast in the
morning, and have a healthy snack like some nuts, or a vegetable crudité before
you sit down to eat. This way, you won’t be ravenous at dinner, you will eat less,
and your stomach will thank you for it.
Tip #3: Watch the Portion Sizes
It’s hard to NOT get overwhelmed with the spread of amazing food that always
seems to be around during the holidays. This makes it easy to overeat and pack
on the holiday pounds. Being aware of how much you are actually eating is
Start slow! Take one scoop of each item instead of piling food onto your plate.
Also, Try waiting 5-10 minutes after finishing your plate before going for seconds.
Your brain will have time to process the fact that you have eaten, and the urge to
go for more will disappear. If you’re still craving seconds, try filling that next plate
with mostly vegetables. They will take up more room, leaving less space for
Tip #4: Exercise
Thanksgiving morning is typically spent in front of the television, watching football
or the Thanksgiving Day Parade. However, if you can find the motivation to get a
workout in, it will make you feel great, and might take some of the guilt out of
indulging in Thanksgiving treats.
Most gyms offer classes in the morning on Thanksgiving Day. Popping in for a
Zumba, spin, or yoga class will help you torch calories and boost your mood
before your family feast. If you’re cooking, you can also take a break from the
kitchen to go for a brisk walk, alone or with company.
Tip #5: To Cocktail, or Not to Cocktail?
If you’re like me, having a drink or two during dinner is an important part of the
holiday tradition. Unfortunately, many of the holiday “buzz-worthy” beverages
are made with milk and cream; just two 8 oz. glasses of eggnog, for instance,
can add up to over 500 calories!
There is no reason to completely cut alcohol out of the equation, though. Again,
simple swaps such as using skim milk instead of whole milk or heavy cream can
reduce the caloric load of any drink.
Eggnog not your style? Try a vodka or rum mixed with diet soda or a glass of
wine mixed with seltzer. These are other great ways to save calories and put
some fizz into your holiday gathering.
Now, I would love to hear from you! How do you keep your holidays healthy? If
you’ve tried any of these tips in the past, have they worked? I hope that you find
these suggestions helpful, and that they assist you in having the happiest of
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
About the Author
Lisa Samuels is a Long Island native who is currently a Dietetic Intern at LIU Post. She has a B.A. in Art History from Ithaca College, a B.S. in Nutrition from LIU Post & was also a practicing baker for two years. Lisa has finally found her calling. Combining her love for food, writing, and nutrition, she strives to bring you the latest news in the field.
Check out even more posts from Lisa at her website: