LA CROSSE, Wis. - Many people look forward to eating turkey and stuffing, potatoes and gravy, buttered beans, fruitcake, cookies, nuts, and pie throughout the holiday season. But excessive culinary celebrating creates the perfect recipe for dietary disaster and it can be very tempting to disregard healthy eating habits. According to MayoClinic.org the average American gains 5 pounds of weight between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. It is no wonder losing weight is the most popular New Year’s resolution.
Registered dietitian Paula Przywojski at Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare says that by making simple changes, holiday meals can be less costly on the waist, while staying healthy. "Most holiday meals are not bad for you if they are prepared properly," says Przywojski. "The trouble arises when fat and sugar are added. For example, including large amounts of sugar, butter and gravy in recipes negates many of the benefits of healthy foods like squash, potatoes, and meat. It also makes it more difficult to enjoy these foods' natural flavors."
Przywojski recommends these tips for holiday eating:
- Cut away all visible fat from meat before cooking
- Roast poultry on a rack so fat can drip away, remove skin before eating
- Remove fat from homemade soup: cool soups in the refrigerator; skim off the fat that rises to the surface
- Make sauce with fat free broth, tomato juice or skim milk, thickened with flour
- Use whole grain bread for stuffing
- Substitute skim milk for whole milk or cream in desert recipes
- Decrease sugar in recipes by 1/4 cup