The CICOA Blog

Don’t Let the Holidays Sabotage Your Diet!

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It’s hard enough to make healthy choices during the year, and between the 63 days from Halloween to New Year’s Day, it gets even more complicated. With sugary cocktails, sweet treats and calorie-packed casseroles everywhere you look, it’s easy to pack on a few pounds. To keep your energy high, mood elevated and avoid the holiday bloat, follow these six tips and tricks:

  1. Bring healthy options. Sign up to bring a fruit or vegetable tray for your holiday gathering. You can make your own with all your favorites, or pick up one at your local grocery. This ensures you can dig into something guilt-free.
  2. Learn to say “no”. The holidays can get overwhelming and added stress can lead to overeating or eating when you’re not hungry. You don’t have to say yes to every invite you receive. If you feel overextended, it’s OK to send your regrets.
  3. Don’t go out on an empty tank. It’s nearly impossible to make a healthy choice when you’re famished. All those sugary treats will be irresistible. So, before heading out to your holiday party, luncheon or dinner, have a healthy snack or meal. When your stomach’s not growling, you’re more likely to exercise will power and not over indulge.
  4. Focus on what really matters. Although food is a great part of the holidays, put emphasis on family and friends, laughter and cheer.
  5. Skip the charcuterie board. They may look healthy, but processed meats and cheeses are high in fat. Choose baked or roasted chicken or turkey.
  6. Stay hydrated. We often think we’re hungry when really we’re just parched. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day and during the festivities.

You don’t have to forgo all holiday indulgences to stay healthy. Enjoy your favorite meals and snacks with zero guilt by making these easy swaps:

  • Substitute plain yogurt for sour cream when making your favorite dips or topping a potato.
  • After a big holiday meal, go for a walk instead of parking on the couch for the afternoon.
  • Include fruit purees in baked goods instead of butter or oil.
  • Choose fruit-flavored seltzer or water with fruit over high-calorie drinks.
  • Swap heavy glazes with herbs and spices on cooked meats.
  • Cook with liquid fats such as olive oil instead of solid fats such as Crisco.

Here’s a yummy mashed potatoes recipe that swaps broth for heavy milk or cream.

Healthy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • 1 small head of garlic
  • 4 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 lbs. red potatoes, roughly chopped
  • ¼- ½ c. chicken or vegetable broth (or almond milk)
  • Sale & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. With a sharp knife, cut the top of the head of garlic off to expose the top of the garlic cloves. Place the whole garlic on a piece of aluminum and drizzle with 2T of olive oil over the head of garlic. Begin to wrap the foil around the garlic leaving room, like a tent, and pinch together at the top. Place the aluminum foil tent on a baking sheet and bake for 2 hours or until the garlic is fragrant.
  3. While the garlic is roasting, place the potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with water. Place the stockpot on the stove and bring to a boil for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  4. Remove the stockpot from the stove, drain the water from the pot, and set aside.
  5. When the garlic is finished roasting, allow it to cool until it is cool enough to handle. Using your fingers, squeeze the roasted garlic out of its peel, and gently mash with a fork.
  6. Add the mashed garlic, chicken broth, the remaining olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste, to the potatoes and mash with a potato mashed until smooth.
  7. Add more chicken broth if needed until it reaches your ideal consistency and enjoy!

Recipe from The Live Fit Girls