This holiday season will be different. We promise. According to Dr. Brian Lane of the Augusta University Digestive Health Center, you can still enjoy the goodies and parties but avoid feeling bloated and worried about the toll on your digestive system and body. Here’s how:
- Take stock. “What does ‘holiday food’ mean to you and your family?” asked Lane. “Highlight what’s naturally healthy.” For example, turkey topped with gravy but minus the skin is an American Heart Association-approved entree.
- Skinny it down. What about transforming sweet potato pie into a side dish of freshly baked sweet potatoes with a touch of cinnamon? You’ll be surprised at how much old-fashioned flavor is retained by making clever substitutions.
- Create new favorites. For example, replace a heavy hitter with a platter of roasted winter vegetables. Look to the season’s harvest of cranberries, apples, pears, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin and squash for inspiration.
- Practice portion control. “If you can’t eliminate it or make it more healthful, just limit it,” said Lane.
- Keep the rest lean and green. Don’t squander precious calories on a stale, store-bought cookie. Follow proper dietary guidelines, and you’ll buy yourself the flexibility for special indulgences.
- Party on. Be a good guest and offer to prepare a dish for the next event (giving you a healthy choice), such as a low-fat yogurt dip with veggies or an angel food cake and winter fruit compote.
- Eat out with confidence. Favor restaurants that offer whole-grain breads, salads and seafood. Portions are often gigantic in restaurants, so split an entree with a friend or order an appetizer-size plate of pasta as your main meal.