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Friday 23 December 2011

Holiday Foods You Should Definitely Avoid

Got a holiday party to attend? If so, you’ve got (potential) trouble ahead. I don’t mean to scare you, but the reality is overeating at holiday parties is one of the easiest ways to derail your progress, feel guilty afterwards, and wince at the bathroom scale the morning after. In this post, I’ll help you get hold of that holiday party pull – you know, the pull to tempting foods that you know aren’t good for you, but you say to yourself, just one. Yeah right! Here are my top three foods that you can enjoy without the guilt and foods to avoid at all costs!

Reach for these foods: 

Healthy Food #1: 
All types of vegetables. I know when some of you read this you’ll say, “Oh, I knew she’d say veggies, yuck!” Don’t stop reading yet. I’ve been amazed at the array of vegetables to choose from at holiday parties. Don’t stick to a salad bar or the typical vegetable platter. Try grilled seasonal vegetables and top with other power foods - beans, water chestnuts or parmesan cheese sprinkles are great choices. The options are endless if you have variety. If your choices are slim, stick with the good old vegetable platter and pick foods like peppers and carrots.

Healthy Food #2: 
Wine. Now that I have your attention, let’s discuss this choice. There are numerous reports with conflicting information on wine consumption, so let’s just keep it simple by saying that enjoying a glass of wine in moderation is okay. The average calories in a glass of wine are between 60-130 calories. You can decrease your calories by half by asking for a half glass of wine. Enjoy a red wine for some additional antioxidant benefit and drink it for the entire evening. Add a couple glasses of water for some extra hydration and you’ll be all set without the wine guilt.

Healthy Food #3: 
Protein. You have to eat protein at a holiday party and here’s why. Protein will help you with satiety (feeling satisfied). If you start your evening with some protein and vegetables you’ll feel less hungry throughout the evening. Just make sure you avoid the fried foods (keep reading).

Run from these foods:

Unhealthy Food #1:
Fried foods. Fried chicken wings aren’t good for you and I can assure you that the ones you’re reaching for aren’t the baked. Fried anything is loaded with unsaturated fat, high in sodium, and deceptively high in calories. If you’re sticking to a caloric intake of 400-600 calories per meal, three wings is it for you. Not very satisfying, huh? Skip the fried foods altogether, and you’ll be able to eat more foods.

Unhealthy Food #2: 
Liquor. According to a University of Rochester study, mixed drinks account for 280-600 calories per glass. Ouch! One drink and that’s it for the night. Not only is liquor a bad choice for a party night, it doesn’t have any redeeming nutritional value. The amount of calories in one mixed drinks and the effect on your mind and body aren’t worth the short-term indulgence. Skip-it!

Unhealthy Food #3:
Breads. Let me first say I’m not a carbohydrates hater. Carbohydrates are the building blocks to a healthy diet and not consuming any is a bad idea. However, most party breads aren't exactly 100% whole grain or barley-rich. Assume that all party breads are enriched; in other words, they’re not good for you. This goes for crackers too (skip the cheese!)

It is possible to enjoy your holiday parties without going off the deep end. Use these tips to get your party food plan together and stick with it. I know you can do it. I’m taking my own advice too! Share your holiday party experience. Did you stick to your plan?


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