The holidays are here and if you’re not careful, the back half of the year could end up on your backside. Everyone knows these upcoming months will be full of parties, dinners, and special events. Instead of setting unrealistic expectations for yourself like working out twice every day, try and keep an eye out for the two biggest culprits of holiday weight gain: foods full of sugar or high in fat. Viewing your upcoming meals through this lens can help you make better choices, so let’s take a look at some of the foods that are bound to sneak their way onto your plate!
- Pecan Pie is loaded with sugar, specifically corn and maple syrup. Try substituting a healthier dessert bread recipe to satisfy your craving for pecans instead.
- Egg Nog’s main ingredients are heavy cream and sugar, but it’s easy to find healthier recipes that replace the sugar with honey and cream with soy, rice, or almond milk.
- Stuffing generally contains bread crumbs, lots of butter, and in some cases fatty meats like sausage. Try cornbread stuffing as a substitute, which tends to consist mainly of cornbread and various veggies.
- Mashed Potatoes can potentially have a lot of butter, as well as loads of whole milk and salt. Try modifying this familiar dish by caramelizing onions to add flavor instead of butter and salt, and using low fat perfect milk. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try cauliflower mash instead!
- Sweet Potato Casserole is yet another meal full of sugar and butter, and marshmallows too! But you can swap out the sugar and marshmallow for a toasty, crushed pineapple top layer for a healthier, fresh new twist.
- Turkey or Chicken Skin is loaded with saturated fat. The simplest solution, in this case, is to bake skinless cuts of meat instead of the whole bird!
- Cakes and Cookies are made up of sugar, sugar, and more sugar! It’s easy to go for sugar-free options, but you can also look for naturally-sweetened things like roasted nuts or apple chips!
The holidays are meant to be spent with family and friends, so don’t stress if the above dishes are unavoidable: Remember, moderation is key! Keep your fitness goals in mind, be kind to yourself, and enjoy the holidays ahead.
This post was originally written by Shellane Demarest, a personal trainer, and fitness model. You can find her online on her Twitter or Instagram account.
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