Stephanie Perez, R.D.
The holidays are filled with family, friends, celebrations, and of course food.
It can be very difficult to have a balanced and healthy diet throughout the holiday season.
“Eating healthy is definitely something to keep in mind as we go into the holiday season, especially for people with diabetes and heart disease,” said Stephanie Perez, MS, RDN, Clinical Nutrition Manager at Bacharach’s main campus. “Both women and men over the age of around 45 should have some awareness of their caloric intake- because metabolism is slowing down, and they no longer can eat whatever they want without gaining weight. And, the weight is just not going to come off as easily as it has in the past. Their calorie intakes should be lower, as a general rule. “
Take the approach of moderation – if you really want to eat something, then have a half portion or a little bit- and stop. The biggest mistake people make is going overboard because they think they have already ruined their diet. Ms. Perez advises strongly against doing that because every calorie counts!
Here are some tips from Stephanie on how to eat healthy this holiday season:
- Don’t skip meals that you would normally eat throughout the day in prep for a party—this can lead to overeating. Also, don’t overeat foods that you perceive as being ‘healthy’ because those calories will still add up.
- Always drink water before consuming alcohol in order to quench your thirst, and start with vegetables and salad when eating because it will help you eat less calories overall.
- Eat slowly, and remember that conversation is free – so spend time talking to your relatives before you get up for seconds. Waiting a bit can help you tell if you are really hungry.
“I tell my patients that whether they are cooking for the holidays or going out, they should make something special that they like that fits into their diet plan,” said Stephanie. “That works for if you are the host or guest; there are ways to reduce fat without sacrificing taste.”
Are you cooking this holiday season? Here are some ways to make your holiday meals healthier:
- Use two egg whites instead of one egg, this reduces the cholesterol and saves about 50 calories per egg.
- Substitute apple sauce for margarine in muffins or breads, you can experiment with the amount of applesauce to get the consistency you want.
- When making dips, sauces or pie toppings use fat-free yogurt or Greek yogurt instead of milk or cream. The yogurt will add nutrition to the dish-and it really tastes good.