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November 19, 2013 > How to Survive the Holidays without Putting on the Pounds

How to Survive the Holidays without Putting on the Pounds

With Thanksgiving upon us and the end-of-year holidays not far away, many of us are wondering how we can enjoy the good foods of the season without going into shock when we get back on the scale in January.

"The trouble with the holidays is they aren't just limited to one meal. It's a parade of parties, family celebrations, office get-togethers, thank you gifts of candy, fruitcakes from grandma, and on and on," says Anna Mazzei, a registered dietitian at Washington Hospital. "The calories and the pounds can accumulate over the whole holiday season."

The danger comes when people don't lose those extra pounds after the holidays, adds Mazzei. Over the years, the weight keeps building, and that puts you at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and more.

On Saturday, November 23, Mazzei will participate at the Washington Hospital Diabetes Health Fair. She'll be conducting a food preparation demonstration focusing on healthy dessert recipes and other strategies for managing diabetes this time of year.

"Although we'll be focusing on the special needs of people with diabetes, many of these guidelines for holiday eating and cooking are good advice for everyone,Ó she says.

MazzeiÕs advice: keep in mind that the holidays don't have to be about denial. You can still enjoy some of the special foods you always look forward to, but mix them up with some healthier choices so the table isn't loaded down with all high-calorie foods. And, don't be overly ambitious with your healthy holiday eating strategies, or you might set yourself up for failure. This treat-laden season is not the time to plan on losing weight. Rather, it may be a more realistic goal to maintain your weight at its pre-Thanksgiving level.

Healthy Eating Strategies

When going to parties, plan in advance. If you decide ahead of time what type of food you'll eat and how much, you're more likely to stick to your plan. And, don't starve all day so you arrive at the party ready to eat the whole table. When you get there, start by filling up on raw veggies and salads before going after the higher calorie dishes. Mazzei suggests selecting one or two of your favorites from the choices of higher calorie foods, and then watch your portion size. Step away from the buffet once you fix your plate to help fight the temptation to overeat.

There are always plenty of alcoholic beverages at holiday parties. Try to temper your liquid consumption to be part of a healthy meal plan. If you're watching your carbohydrates, take into the consideration the carbs in beer, sweet drinks like margaritas, and traditional drinks such as eggnog. If you're diabetic, it's critical to monitor your blood sugar level and to be mindful about the effect of alcohol.

Healthy Cooking Strategies

When whipping up a holiday dish or making edible gifts for friends, remember these helpful tips from the American Dietetics Association:
* Go easy on foods with "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils.
* Switch to liquid oils or trans fat-free margarines.
* Add healthy ingredients to cake or cookie batters, like raisins or toasted nuts instead of chocolate chips.
* Think about cutting back on total fat by using fruit purees or yogurt in place of butter or other spreads.

Diabetes Health Fair

Join us for the 5th Annual Diabetes Awareness Health Expo. Visit our information booths, hear from expert physicians and attend a cooking demonstration focusing on healthy desserts.

When: Saturday, November 23, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Conrad E. Anderson, MD, Auditorium, Rooms A & B
Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
To register, call (800) 963-7070.

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Eat Well This Holiday Season

Eating healthy during the holidays doesn't have to be painful. Try a mouth-watering recipe like the one below from Eating Well magazine.
Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Makes: 12 servings, about 1/2 cup each
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minute
* 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
* 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
* 2 tablespoons butter, melted
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400¡F.
2. Arrange sweet potatoes in an even layer in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in small bowl. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes; toss to coat.
3. Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown, 45 to 50 minutes more.
Tips & Notes
* Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Just before serving, reheat at 350¡F until hot, about 15 minutes.
Per serving: 96 calories; 2 g fat ( 1 g sat , 0 g mono ); 5 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 118 mg sodium; 189 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (230% daily value), Vitamin C (15% dv)
Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2
Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat
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