By: Laura M. Howell
Tis' the season to be merry and bright. Also, tis' the season to overindulge at holiday events and feel bad about it the rest of the week. Overindulging followed by self-savatage can ruin your holiday season and take all the merry and brightness out of the happiest time of the year. Luckily, there are ways to enjoy holiday festivities and stay on track with your health and fitness goals. In this article I will tell you exactly what to eat at your next holiday party.
But First, What Not to Eat at Your Next Holiday Party
I can't tell you what to eat at your next holiday party without telling you what not to eat. One decadent food choice at a holiday party can easily be equivalent in calories to an entire healthy meal. To add to the disappointment most decadent holiday food will not fill you up. The unfortunate part of eating high-calorie holiday food is most of it is high in sugar and unhealthy fat and low in nutrient dense macronutrients like whole-grains and lean proteins. Holiday food can often look very palatable with its fancy display and fun colors, but the truth is it can leave you hungry and un-satisfied which will drive you to seek out more unhealthy treats and the cycle will continue. Now, not all holiday indulgences are created equal there are some that are far worse than others. Here are 5 common holiday indulgences you need to simply AVOID. But, hold tight until the end where I will share what to eat at your next holiday party.
5 Foods To SKIP at Your Next Holiday Party
- Cheese Dip. There's nothing I could dip into Velveta cheese that wouldn't be automatically 100 times better. How can something so good be so bad? But it is. A mere 2 tablespoons of Velveta cheese dip is 70 calories and 4 grams of saturated fat (the bad kind). Add a few tortilla chips and you're at 300 calories.
- Frosted Sugar Cookies. Frosted sugar cookies you're simply adorable to look at and even better going down, why do you have to be loaded with calories and sugar? One medium sized frosted sugar cookie can cost you 300 calories and 30 grams of sugar. Talk about unfair.
- Egg Nog. Nothing says Christmas like egg nog. Even without the booze this sweet holiday tradition can add lbs. fast. Without the alcohol we're talking 250 calories and 7 grams of saturated fat in one cup of Christmas cheer. Add a kick of the good stuff (booze) and thats another 50-100 calories per ounce. Now that's a buzz kill.
- Pot Roast. Yes, pot roast is high in protein, but that's literally the only "good" thing it has going for it. One 3 oz serving (that's a really small portion) can run you 300 calories and a shocking 20 grams of saturated fat. Do yourself and skinny jeans a favor and move past the pot roast.
- Candied yams or sweet potato casserole. I eat sweet potatoes literally every single day, but not this kind... a serving of candied sweet potatoes or sweet potato casserole is 400 calories and 38 grams of sugar! 38 grams of sugar that's almost double what the American Heart Association recommends for an entire day. Talk about a devil dressed in angels clothing, sweet potatoes you were way better before you met sugar and butter.
Love Cocktails? I thought so! Check out this article in the NME Learning Center "Damage Control: How to Have a Few Cocktails and Still Reach Your Fitness Goals".
What To Eat at Your Next Holiday Party
This isn't an article written to take all the joy out of your holiday season festivities. There is in fact some healthier options that you can eat at your next party. The following 5 healthier party food choices all have protein and carbs in them which will keep you full longer. The protein will help with your sweet carvings and the moderate carbs will satisfy you so you can avoid 2nd and 3rd trips to the snack table. The following list will leave you never wondering what to eat at your next holiday party.
5 Foods TO EAT at Your Next Holiday Party
- Shrimp Cocktail and Crackers. Shrimp cocktail is a like a good friend you always run into at a holiday party. Six large shrimp and a serving of crackers will earn you 15 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrates the perfect amount to keep you full for another 2-3 hours of party hopping.
- Cheese and Fruit. Well, cheese and fruit sounds tasty. You will be satisfying your sweet and savory with this perfect protein and carbohydrate party powerhouse. Two slices (or wedges) of cheese is loaded with 13 grams of protein and a cup of fruit will give you a clean 30 grams of carbohydrates.
- Pumpkin Pie. The holiday season is an awesome opportunity to enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is a holiday desert that actually has a few health benefits. A slice of pumpkin pie is full of many vitamins including: Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Potassium. In addition, a slice of pumpkin pie has an entire serving of protein (7 grams) and a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates (40 grams).
Sweet and Sour Meatballs. These tasty little hunks of holiday cheer are stock-full of protein. In fact, if you can have three meatballs which will earn you 15 grams of complete muscle building protein and only 20 grams of carbohydrates. Plus, three morsels will only cost you 180 calories, not bad for a festive favorite.
- Hummus with Pita or Veggies. Hummus has become not only a party go-to but a household staple. Hummus is made of simple ingredients, with most versions containing only: chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt. You can mix it with veggies and a serving of bread and get away with eating 4 tablespoons of hummus which weighs in at a mere 100 calories. The protein count is low (barely a gram per serving) but with the flavor punch of hummus you can add it to vegetables or bread and have a completely guilt free party experience.
What's your favorite indulgence during the holidays? Do you make an effort to eat healthy at social events during the holidays?