Reporting Natalie Nyhus
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — ‘Tis the season of temptations, with all sorts of food and drink and goodies just waiting to ruin your waistline during December.
You know those foods will be right at your fingertips, but some are more likely to make Santa’s naughty list of snacks than others.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the average person puts on a pound during the holidays and never loses it. That can add up to serious weight gain over the years.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid the holiday food trap.
Office Party Appetizers
All of those fancy but small appetizers can still be full of fat. Each one is tiny, but the calories add up quickly when there is an endless parade of hors d’oeuvres. Here are nice ones to looks for: Chilled shrimp, veggies, and fresh fruits. Those are all nutritious, low-calorie appetizers.
Cocktails with cream and sugar add up fast. One serving of a white Russian, even if made with light cream, has about 350 calories. Make your drink nice by mixing up a wine spritzer. Combine a splash of wine and sparkling water to pomegranate or cranberry juice.
Milk chocolates are high in fat and low in the disease-fighting compounds found in purer forms of dark chocolate. Caramel or cream-filled chocolates are also lacking in the health department. But you don’t have to avoid chocolate altogether. Try solid dark chocolate with heart-healthy nuts to get on the nice list.
It makes a great gift but it’s loaded with sugar. The advice on this one is very simple: regular, plain popcorn is by far the nicer option.
This iconic holiday favorite is particularly high up on the naughty list. Alcohol, heavy cream, eggs, and sugar make a frightening combo. A single cup of egg nog contains about 340 calories and 19 grams of fat. Make it nice with a low-calorie version. Try skim milk, egg substitutes, and a sweetener like agave nectar.
Staying On The Nice List
Finally, here are some extra tips to resisting that temptation during the holidays. At parties, sit far from the buffet table. Engage in conversation to slow the pace of eating. Excuse yourself from the dinner table once you’ve had enough to eat. And chew sugar free gum or suck on sugar free candy to reduce the desire to nibble.
Of course, the most obvious pitfall is all those Christmas cookies. However, it’s not good to ignore the cravings either. Carbs taste good, and they make you feel good by triggering the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that boosts mood. The solution is to control portions or snack on complex carbs, like whole-grain cereal or crackers.