5 Holiday Weight Loss Tips!
The month of December is known for parties, celebrations, and FOOD! Lots of people only think of the one main meal over Christmas, but the reality is that the celebrations can start NOW and go all the way until the BIG DAY.
Parties that include sweet treats, gooey, cheesy appetizers and alcoholic drinks can really pack a punch on the waistline!
I interviewed a small office staff here in town and asked each employee the following:
“On average, how many Christmas or holiday celebrations will you attend before the 1st of 2017?"
One woman, in particular, told me her holiday plans...just so far! She will attend a Christmas party with her Bunko group where they will have chips, dips, desserts, and the main dish will be chili.
She explained that it was a yearly traditional event that they have so I made some suggestions.
Easy Holiday Chili
- I asked if she thought her friends would be receptive to trying new foods that were lower calorie but still delicious! She said, “YES!” So I gave her a simple, cozy chili recipe:
Easy Cozy Holiday Chili
- 3 lbs. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
- 6 cans Northern beans, rinsed
- 1 large can low sodium cream of chicken soup
- 1 large can reduced sodium chicken broth
- 2 bags frozen seasoning blend veggies (Chopped celery, onion and bell peppers)
- ½ cup chopped jalapenos
- 1 tsp. Cumin
- 2 packets low sodium taco seasoning
- 1 can chopped tomatoes and green chilis
Mix all together in a large pot or crock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
This recipe is great right out of the pot but if you like, you can chill overnight and really intensify the flavors and then reheat before serving!
Boiled Shrimp Cocktails
2. My next suggestion was to get some boiled, chilled shrimp and cocktail sauce.
These can easily be found in an frozen food section of your grocery store but if you happen to live somewhere (like the coast like we do) that has a fresh fish market, you can get great shrimp there as well! More than likely they will steam it for you for free. This a great choice for a lower calorie appetizer as shrimp (And all shellfish) is only 25 calories per ounce. 2 medium shrimp=1 ounce!, so if you had a plate with six shrimp on it, you are only looking at 75 calories. Add some basic cocktail sauce and you still only have 100 calories on that plate!
Fresh Veggies and Salads
3. The “go to” holiday find would be a great big salad or fresh veggie tray. My favorite recipe this time of the year is this:
Beautiful Holiday Spinach Salad
- 2 bags fresh baby spinach, washed and stems removed
- 1 pint strawberries, sliced
- 1 can pineapple chunks, drained
- 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 purple onion, chopped
Low calorie or light raspberry balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
Mix all ingredients (except dressing) in a large bowl. Serve the dressing on the side. (You couls also toss in some blue cheese right before serving if desired) YUM!
Healthy Holiday Desserts
4. For an easy Holiday dessert, I love to have a mixture of fresh berries (blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.). I toss them i a large bowl and fold in some low fat vanilla yogurt sprinkled with apple pie spice. You could even top each one with some fat-free cool whip to make it even more festive! Simple and easy.
So let's evaluate just this ONE function that the employee is going to.
TYPICAL MENU ITEMS
1 ounce chips (about 16 chips) = 160 calories
2 Tbsp. french onion dip = 100 calories
Chili with meat and beans topped with shredded cheese and sour cream = 580 calories
3 ounces crackers with cheese with crackers = 400
2 ounce brownie = 140
2 sugar cookies = 160
Total- 1540 calories! YIKES! (And that’s bypassing the drinks!)
ALTERNATIVE HEALTHIER MENU
6 boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce = 100 calories
1 cup chicken chili with sour cream dollop = 380 claories
1 ½ cups spinach salad with 2 tbsp vinegrette = 220
1 cup berry dessert = 100 calories
Total - 800 calories
Lots of times there are subtle little things like co-workers bringing in treats such as cookies, cakes, candies, chocolate, etc. around the holiday season.
When things are “small” it seems harmless to have a bite, but when they are in the environment all day long, one little bite can easily turn into 5-6 bites and can result in a staggering 5-600 calories!
That could be the equivalent to say 5 100 calorie protein shakes!
One thing I ALWAYS work with my clients on is to BE PREPARED!
Another client told me that her company had meals catered to them several times per week. Especially during the holidays not only do they bring lunch, but also a wide variety of baked treats.
These can be very tempting for even the most “disciplined” of people! I always say that willpower is overrated for sure! We know that the two senses that trigger overeating are sight and smell! Therefore the very best way of protecting your waistline is to always replace the tempting high-fat foods with lower calorie option!
Preparation is Key!
5. I suggested to my client to keep a “stash” of acceptable, low calorie and great tasting foods handy in the office for the occasions where the break room is a “war zone!”
Now my client has a variety of protein bars and protein shakes to keep full!
There are not only delicious options but when you take in protein it keeps you fuller as opposed to taking in carbs that turn to sugar and make you crave sugar!
Two of my favorite are Bariwise Peanut Butter bars
As well as Bariwise Crispy Fudge and Graham bars
So very yummy!
There are a great variety of these bars and although I don't instruct clients to use these snacks as meal replacements, I do use them in diet planning as a great replacement for high-calorie snacks especially around the holidays. Sometimes there are typical holiday parties where you may have little to no control over the food that is being offered.In these situations, it can become frustrating to try to find options that are healthy. Some simple tips are:
- Eat before you go! Studies show that doing a high protein shake can curb the hunger once you are in that environment.
- Stay away from high-calorie appetizers (such as cheese, dips, and chips)
- Look for healthier options such as deviled eggs, cold shrimp, veggie trays, fruit trays, etc.
- When indulging in alcohol, stick with light beer, wine or spritzers. Stay away from drinks made with cream or liquors. If you are going to drink, have one and switch to water with lime before going for the second one.
All of these tips are tried and true with my clients and the holidays can actually turn out to be a weight loss time of the year as well as fun and festive with a little planning!!