TOPS' ten ways to lighten your holiday meal
MILWAUKEE, WI, November 16, 2013-- Cookie swaps, catered lunches, buffet tables brimming with treats: many of us celebrate the holidays by sharing food. Don’t let the season to be a reason to overdo it, though. Follow these ten strategies from Katie Ferraro, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.E., nutrition expert for TOPS Club, Inc.® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly®), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, to keep the season bright – and light.
- Fill up first. Have a healthy snack before hitting the holiday party scene. You will likely make wiser choices when you’re not famished.
- Go easy at the get-go. Holiday appetizers are calorie “minefields.” Select one tempting starter and then stick to shrimp, vegetables, and fruit before the main course.
- Bring your own. Stressing about what to eat at a holiday gathering? Volunteer to bring your own healthy dish that can double as a host or hostess gift.
- Consider cauliflower. Cauliflower can stretch the starchiest of dishes. When planning an appetizer, look for cauliflower mashed potatoes, pizza, and torte crusts, and even cookie recipes online.
- Swap and save. Substitute low-fat yogurt, milk, cream cheese, mayonnaise, chicken stock, and eggnog for high-fat recipe ingredients.
- Get a gravy separator. Make your gravy “lean and mean.” Use a gravy separator to separate juices from fat, saving calories while concentrating flavor.
- Do winter fruit desserts. There’s no need for high-fat desserts when winter fruits are in season. Oranges, kiwis, and persimmons are a great finale for healthy holiday meals.
- Mingle more and linger less. Make the rounds at holiday meals, try not to hang around the buffet table, and limit second helpings to the healthiest fruit and vegetable dishes.
- Put your fork down. It’s a time-tested trick – if you put your fork down between every bite, you’ll eat less and savor more.
- Sip smartly. Avoid calorie-laden soft drinks, punches, and/or mixers in alcoholic beverages, and take in large glasses of water between drinks.
TOPS Club Inc.® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly®) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded more than 65 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.®” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise, and wellness information. TOPS has about 150,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in thousands of chapters throughout the United States and Canada.
Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. Membership is affordable at just $28 per year in the U.S. and $32 per year in Canada, plus nominal chapter fees. To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call 800-932-8677.