Holiday Foods to Help Maintain Weight

holiday foods: turkey and other Christmas foods

Holiday Foods to Help Maintain Weight

By: Julie Mancuso, B.A., R.H.N., JM Nutrition

Without a doubt, top-of-the-line elements of the late December vacation season is the scrumptious, hard-to-resist meals discovered at many workplace events and household get-togethers. Unfortunately, nevertheless, there’s a draw back to all these fantastic indulgences: the dreaded post-festive interval weight acquire. 

If you occur to have one eye in your plate and the opposite in your waistline or well being generally, and nonetheless need to take pleasure in these scrumptious vacation meals, right here is an strategy you would possibly take into account.


Which ones ought to I eat? Which ones ought to I reduce on or keep away from altogether?


Choose Sweet Potatoes Over Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes

As conventional and scrumptious as they’re, mashed potatoes are sometimes loaded with a beneficiant serving of fatty milk.

We then usually smear these potatoes with a heaping tablespoon or two of butter or margarine which, whereas largely bettering the style of the potatoes, add fats and further energy to this Christmas staple.

In addition, potatoes are a starch, and due to this fact, excessive in carbohydrates, so eat sparingly if weight reduction or weight upkeep is your aim.

Don’t get me improper, there’s one other aspect to the potato. 

Potatoes are nutritious as they comprise potassium, Vitamin C and antioxidants, so don’t reduce on them fully. Just watch out for how a lot you’re consuming, and particularly, what you’re placing in them.

Sweet potatoes

A extra wholesome different to mashed potatoes is the candy potato.

For one, candy potatoes are flavourful and… candy, which suggests they’ll stand on their very own rather more simply. There’s no want for additions corresponding to milk or butter. Just sprinkle a bit pepper or extra-virgin olive oil, if you are feeling that the candy potato wants a bit firm, and also you’ve obtained a splendidly filling aspect dish.

Two, candy potatoes are filled with important vitamins and nutritional vitamins, which offer correct gasoline for the busy time that’s the vacation season.

Read extra about candy potatoes from


Turkey: Choose White Meat Over Dark Meat

Turkey has turn out to be a meals staple in lots of western international locations and it’s consumed recurrently. It can also be one of many vacation meals discovered on nearly each conventional Christmas dinner desk.

White turkey meat

Turkey per se is lean and wholesome, significantly the chicken.


White meat accommodates much less saturated fats and fewer energy. So in the event you’re nervous about weight acquire, whether or not through the vacation season or at every other time, eat extra chicken as it can assist to maintain your weight in test.

Dark turkey meat

On the opposite hand, darkish meat accommodates extra iron and zinc—important micronutrients on your physique—so there may be at all times a flip aspect to each argument. If you’re poor within the these vitamins, then maybe you shouldn’t discard the darkish meat even when attempting to shed weight.


Choose Roasted Turkey or Chicken Over Ham


Although ham, one of the crucial well-liked vacation meals, carries appreciable protein and iron, it’s additionally excessive in sodium. As not all hams are created equal, some comprise extra sodium than others. I like to recommend checking the meals label for this info earlier than making the acquisition on the grocery retailer.

In addition, ham tends to have the next saturated fats content material than different, extra wholesome vacation meals corresponding to turkey or rooster.

For these causes alone, ham needs to be consumed sparingly. 

Roasted turkey or rooster

Roasted turkey or rooster are the more healthy vacation meals.

They’re each glorious sources of protein, iron, zinc and potassium. They additionally comprise quite a lot of important nutritional vitamins.

In addition to those fantastic advantages, turkey and rooster are low in saturated fats and low in ldl cholesterol, making them one of many ultimate vacation meals for these trying to take pleasure in consuming through the festive interval in a extra moderately wholesome manner.


Choose Wine Over Eggnog


When consumed carefully, or higher but, in small quantities, wine may be of profit for the health-conscious individual.

As I discussed in How to Choose Wine and Drink It with out Gaining Weight, sure wines act because the extra wholesome options to many different sugar-laden alcoholic drinks and cocktails that do nothing however tack on the kilos.

When shopping for wine, select the one which accommodates much less sugar. You needs to be checking the worth label on the liquor retailer as a result of it usually signifies the sugar content material of the given wine bottle.

Generally talking, pink wine accommodates much less sugar than white wine. Some wines, significantly dessert wines like Moscato or ice wine, are very excessive in sugar, and as such, needs to be consumed in small quantities or by no means—if weight reduction or weight upkeep are a precedence.

With that stated, many low-sugar white wines may be discovered, so that you don’t must say adieu to your favorite aperitif.

It can also be smart to pick out wines with a decrease alcohol content material (ABV=Alcohol By Volume). Alcohol is very caloric, so the upper the alcohol content material of the wine, the upper the calorie rely.

In addition to the truth that wine accommodates much less sugar than different alcoholic drinks, it accommodates some antioxidants too, which may be of nice profit to your physique.

Related: How to Make Healthier Alcohol Selections


So why not eggnog?

Well, it’s a triple whammy.

Eggnog is little doubt scrumptious, filling and one of many extra well-liked vacation meals, er drinks. But as heavenly as it could style, eggnog is about as unhealthy because it will get.

Even a small cup of this Christmas goodness packs on the energy like no different.

Eggnog can also be very excessive in fats—the unhealthy sort—so it could possibly little doubt sabotage your weight targets.

If this weren’t sufficient, eggnog is excessive in ldl cholesterol. 

If you completely can’t forego this liquid libation through the vacation season, take a sip or two, after which set it down on the desk and discover a more healthy sipping drink.

Need extra info on eggnog? Read this text from


Choose Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Over Salad Dressing in a Bottle

Bottled salad dressing

The Caesar, Ranch, French and Italian salad dressings, usually discover their manner onto a dinner desk in lots of as we speak’s properties, largely due to their style and comfort.

Unfortunately, nevertheless, it’s smart to avoid these dressings if you wish to preserve trim. 

Reasons being: 

One, they’re excessive in fats.

Two, they’re excessive in salt.

Three, they comprise components and preservatives.

Four, they could comprise hidden sugars.

Five, they contribute further, pointless energy.

On account of those information, they need to be used solely every so often and in very small parts.

Extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar

If your aim is to eat healthily, maintaining your weight in test, select extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar as an alternative.

Why extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar?

Well, they each have anti-oxidative properties. Olive oil is a wholesome unsaturated fats and an excellent supply of Vitamins E and Ok.

Meanwhile, balsamic vinegar is low in sugar when in comparison with the typical salad dressing. Together, they comprise much less salt, fats and sugar than their bottled counterparts.

So if weight reduction or weight upkeep are of nice significance to you through the vacation season, you realize which manner try to be dressing your salad.


Choose Whole Grain or Sprouted Bread Over White Bread

White bread

Nutritionally talking, white bread is just much less wholesome than complete or sprouted grain.

White bread is decrease in fibre, zinc, magnesium and different important vitamins and nutritional vitamins.

As the bread is processed, the vitamins are stripped down, leaving little dietary worth. During this stage, the bran and the germ are eliminated, solely leaving the endosperm—in any other case often known as the starchy half. This starch is then transformed by our our bodies into sugar.

Whole grain and sprouted bread

Whole grain bread has a decrease glycemic index, which suggests it’s absorbed and digested extra slowly, leading to a decrease rise in glucose and insulin. And that’s an excellent factor. This can assist preserve weight.

Sprouted bread can also be a superb different because it has been touted by many well being specialists as the very best factor since sliced bread. To uncover its many advantages check out this article.

Here’s a tip: When shopping for bread, the final rule of thumb is the darker the bread, the more healthy.


Choose Pumpkin Pie Over Pecan Pie

Whether you go for pumpkin or pecan pie one factor is definite: you gained’t depart your style buds dissatisfied. In addition to being tasty, these pies possess some dietary worth as effectively.

For occasion, pumpkin accommodates a great deal of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and fibre. Pecans additionally ship appreciable fibre together with wholesome fat, manganese, in addition to copper, thiamine and magnesium–albeit in smaller quantities.

But it’s not all roses in pumpkin and apple pieland. Both of those well-liked vacation meals comprise not-so-healthy components, specifically the crust, butter, some type of cream or shortening, and sometimes sugar.

But so far as diet and weight administration are involved, I like to recommend you select pumpkin pie over pecan pie.

Pecan pie

Pecan pie is excessive in fats as a result of pecans are excessive in fats–a lot increased than pumpkin. This tacks on the energy together with undesirable weight, in the event you indulge recurrently. Additionally, this scrumptious however unhealthy pecan deal with brims with corn syrup and sugar—components hardly conducive for maintaining trim and wholesome.

Pumpkin pie

What’s probably the most unhealthy half in pumpkin pie? The crust. Sugar is current; nevertheless, the quantity pales compared to that present in your common pecan pie.

In different phrases, in the event you really feel it’s essential to take pleasure in dessert this vacation season, and if offered with two decisions, pumpkin or pecan pie, you’ll want to choose the previous.


Choose Hummus Over Store-Bought Vegetable Dips

Vegetable platters discover their manner onto nearly each vacation dinner desk. They additionally make common appearances as appetizers at get-togethers and events. Often accompanying the wholesome, nutritious greens, is the vegetable dip. These two are nearly inseparable and regularly consumed collectively.

Store-bought vegetable dips

Store-bought vegetable dips normally comprise a excessive quantity of fats, sugar and/or salt, in addition to different components. If you simply can’t chew into that celery or carrot stick with out submerging them first in a dip, take into account hummus as an alternative.


A Middle-Eastern and East Mediterranean staple, hummus acts as a wholesome different to many different dips. It accommodates an excellent quantity of protein, fibre, and different vitamins and minerals. Although hummus does comprise fats—it’s the unsaturated sort, the great sort.

Hummus can also be a fancy carbohydrate, which doesn’t simply provide you with a fast surge of vitality, adopted by a sudden and swift crash. The vitality is launched slowly over time, because of which you don’t get that spike in blood sugar.

Last however not least, hummus is scrumptious—an excellent cause alone so as to add it to your weight loss program.

Choosing hummus ought to go a good distance in serving to you to take care of weight, offered you don’t scoop it by the tablespoon.

More about hummus.


Choose Salmon Over Steak


Before I upset the die-hard carnivores who want steak like they want air, hear me out.

Although steak, very similar to different pink meat, offers a wholesome dose of protein, iron and zinc—all important for a wholesome physique—it may also be excessive in saturated fats, contributing to raised levels of cholesterol.

If eaten usually and in substantial quantities, and never burned off by train, steak also can contribute to a bigger waistline, particularly when eaten with all the opposite unhealthy vacation meals across the holidays.

The unhealthy information doesn’t finish there. Red meat might comprise traces of antibiotics and hormones, which might certainly wreak long-term havoc in your system, contributing to weight acquire and different well being illnesses.

Now I’m not suggesting to chop out steak fully—simply scale back the portion and frequency, and maybe exchange it with salmon or a leaner meat at any time when potential. Doing so can assist you to take care of weight.


A fantastic supply of omega-3s, protein and plenty of different nutritional vitamins (D, B12, B3, B6, B5) and minerals, salmon can also be a lot decrease in fats than our beforehand mentioned good friend, the steak, successfully appearing as an effective way to consumption protein whereas stopping weight acquire.

Just needless to say most salmon carries mercury, so don’t eat each day. Choose wild Pacific salmon, and even higher wild Alaskan salmon as these fish comprise decrease ranges of mercury in comparison with Atlantic salmon.

Read this nice article on salmon and its many advantages from Healthline


Choose Goat Cheese Over Cow Cheese

Goat cheese over cow cheese? What’s the distinction?

Goat cheese

Goat cheese is the more healthy choice as a result of it carries fewer energy and has considerably much less sodium. It can also be richer in sure nutritional vitamins and vitamins (Vitamins A, B, D and Ok, in addition to calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron).

Perhaps extra importantly, goat cheese is simpler to digest as a result of it accommodates much less lactose. For individuals whose programs react negatively when lactose is taken in, goat cheese acts as a terrific different as a result of it doesn’t trigger the identical disruption to your digestion. Being equally structured to human milk, our digestive programs take it in with rather more ease as effectively.

Cow cheese

Cow milk, alternatively, has bigger molecules, making it more durable to digest. It additionally accommodates extra alpha S1 casein protein, which has been linked to allergic reactions in some research.

For all these causes, selecting goat cheese can show useful when attempting to lose or preserve weight.


Choose Spaghetti Squash Over Pasta

If you’re genuinely attempting to take care of weight through the festive interval, or every other interval for that matter, and are on the lookout for wholesome vacation meals to eat, I urge you to strive spaghetti squash as an alternative of standard pasta.

The cause for that is easy. Spaghetti squash accommodates fewer energy and carbohydrates than pasta. In addition, it’s nutrient- and vitamin-rich when in comparison with pasta.

Those purchasers of mine who’ve tried making this substitution a daily incidence have skilled some type of weight reduction.  

For a extra detailed comparability learn this nice article from


The above ideas are simply a number of the some ways you can also make more healthy vacation season meals decisions that may go a good distance in serving to you preserve weight.

You don’t must strive all of the ideas I describe. You shouldn’t must really feel disadvantaged. But I encourage you to attempt to incorporate a number of of those modifications for weight upkeep and higher total well being.



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Julie Mancuso is a registered holistic Toronto nutritionist who has been counseling purchasers for over 15 years. Julie’s customized strategy has helped hundreds attain their well being, wellness and diet targets.

Julie recurrently lends her experience to a wide range of well being publications corresponding to Livestrong, Business Insider, MyFitnessPal, Toronto Star, Elle Magazine and plenty of extra. For extra info, see In The Press.

Julie’s weblog has been named one of many Top 100 Nutrition Blogs, Websites and Newsletters to Follow in 2018 by Feedspot. 

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