Marlene Lesson is nutrition director of Structure House, a residential weight loss facility in Durham, N.C. that offers a unique behavioral approach to weight loss and healthy lifestyle change. In part one of our four-part series, Ms. Lesson shares her lessons in healthy eating…something we can ALL benefit from.
The basic dishes on most holiday tables start out as highly nutritious and low in fat, it’s after you add the sugar, smother in gravy and cover in marshmallow that these dishes become caloric nightmares. It’s no wonder the average person consumes between 3,000 and 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving Day!
For those of us working daily to achieve and maintain our health and weight loss goals, the holidays present significant challenges. How to enjoy without overindulging?! Here are some tips to help you pass on high calorie temptations and stay fit through the holidays.
Let’s talk turkey! Skip the dark meat and roast or braise the turkey breast in fat-free broth. This is the favorite cut for most people anyway. Remove the skin and you’re saving 72 calories and 9 grams of saturated fat per 4-oz serving! Turkey is a wonderful source of iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and B vitamins.
The side dish danger zone
Cranberries these tart little berries are a good source of vitamins A, C and E, fat-free and cholesterol-freeâ€¦that is until you add a full cup of sugar! The trick here is all about portion control. Reduce the amount of sugar in your cranberry sauce or mix cranberries with other fruits that are naturally sweeter.
Sweet potatoes and yams This winter vegetable is packed with vitamins A, C and potassium. One cup of cooked sweet potato is only 180 calories. Leave off the marshmallows and butter and this side dish remains healthy. If you can’t eat it plain, add a sprinkle of brown sugar and no-fat butter substitute.
Green bean casserole A family favorite, this dish can be made over to taste delicious with 40% less fat than the original. Skip the cream of mushroom soup and use fresh mushrooms and replace french-fried onions with fresh caramelized onions. Or try a variation. Green beans with pine nuts and raisins is a tasty dish with only 60 calories per serving.
By Marlene Lesson, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E. For information, visit the Structure House website or call 800-553-0052.
Be sure to visit this blog next week for part two of our four-part series!