The U of I Extension shows how easy changes can help you maintain your weight
STANDARD — Thanksgiving may be past, but with Christmas parties, family dinners, New Year’s Eve and Super Bowl Sunday ahead of us, there’s still time to avoid making those poor decisions which can affect your waistline in a way you’re not going to enjoy.
To help fight the battle of the bulges, Susan Glassman, a nutrition and wellness educator with the U of I Extension, recently presented “Healthy Holiday Cooking” at the Putnam County Community Center.
“During the holidays you need to be aware of the difference between emotional and physical hunger because you’re often eating memories this time of year,” Glassman said of those family favorite recipes.
“You should still bring those dishes you’re famous for, but there are often plenty of ways to sneak in some healthy ingredients to limit their impact and you can also bring some additional dishes which offer a healthier choice,” she added.
Glassman said many old family recipes call for a large amount of sugar which can be cut by a third or even in half. Many times reducing the sugar lets the other flavors play a bigger role.
Staying on your normal eating routine is another important aspect of avoiding weight gain during the holidays.
“Don’t skip meals in an attempt to save your daily calories for one big meal. Research has shown that continuing to eat on your normal schedule helps prevent overeating,” Glassman said.
She said it’s important to enjoy your family time and the food, but doing so cautiously and with a plan will help you avoid unwanted weight gain.
“Don’t worry so much about weight loss during this time of year, but concentrate more on maintaining your weight. When approaching the table, take a look at everything first, develop a plan and then put the healthier items on your plate first,” Glassman said.
And while sugar seems the likeliest culprit for the expanding thighs and rump roasts of the season, it’s actually the carbohydrates which are the kitchen Grinch.
“The holidays are a carb paradise. They digest quickly and spike blood sugar. Choose one or two carb items to enjoy and then leave one or two,” she advised.
Another way to avoid temptation is to not stand near the food tables at parties. Liquid calories are another easy way to blow past the recommended daily limit. Staying well hydrated is equally important. Space out alcoholic drinks with a glass of water, club soda or other unsweetened beverage in between.
During the presentation, Glassman also demonstrated a quick, easy and healthy recipe to bring to holiday gatherings, a lighter, lemony broccoli salad.
“This was a good program and very informative. Anything new I can learn in order to be healthier makes me happy,” Spring Valley’s Shirley Pratt said following the presentation.
For more information about the U of I Extension and the Illinois Nutrition Education Programs and for several healthy holiday recipes, visit www.web.extension.illinois.edu/INEP.
For more information about the Putnam County Community Center, visit www.pcaservices.org.
What does it cost in walking? Burning some of those holiday calories with the U of I Extension
• 4 ounces of turkey — 32 minutes
• 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes — 21 minutes
• 1/4 cup of gravy — 30 minutes
• 1/2 cup of stuffing — 32 minutes
• 1/2 cup of mac & cheese — 45 minutes
• 1/2 cup of sweet potato casserole — 32 minutes
• 1/2 cup of green bean casserole — 20 minutes
• 1/2 cup of brussels sprouts — 4 minutes
Total time spent walking — 3.6 hours
Tiny bites, big calories. The U of I Extension shows how those little nibbles help create big waistlines
Bite 1: A quarter-cup of orange juice is left in the carton. You might as well finish it, right? Calories — 26
Bite 2: Two tablespoons of fruity loops are left in your child's bowl. You eat it before putting it in the sink. Calories — 50
Bite 3: You add two teaspoons of sugar to your coffee. Calories — 31
Bite 4: You take just a small "sample" of leftover cake. Calories — 73
Bite 5: You forgot to ask them to hold the mayo on your hamburger at lunch. Calories — 100
Bite 6: You also had onions on your burger, so you enjoy two mints. Calories — 20
Bite 7: You have a soda while watching T.V. Calories — 140
Bite 8: While you're in the kitchen, you grab a few chips. Calories — 105
Bite 9: You sample some cheese and a cracker at the grocery store. Calories — 55
Bite 10: At the checkout you grab another soda. Calories — 140
Bite 11: You sample two tablespoons of macaroni and cheese as you're cooking it. Calories — 54
Bite 12: A quarter-cup of mac and cheese. There's only a small amount left and it's not worth saving, so you eat it. Calories — 108
The caloric grand total of all those "just a little bit" bites for the day: 902
If these extra calories are eaten daily it's possible to gain more than a pound a week. If you've been adding "mystery pounds," consider counting the calories of those tiny bites.
How can ingredient substitutions add up? A caloric comparison from the U of I Extension
3.5 ounces of dark meat turkey with the skin (about the size of a deck of cards) — 220 calories
Traditional sweet potato casserole — 274 calories
Traditional green bean casserole — 230 calories
Broccoli salad — 374 calories
Cranberry salad — 174
Pumpkin pie — 200 calories
Total calories — 1552
3.5 ounces of white meat turkey without the skin — 161 calories
Sweet potato casserole — 150 calories
Lighter green bean casserole — 110
Lighter broccoli salad — 123 calories
Cranberry gelatin salad — 100 calories
Pumpkin mousse — 80 calories
Total calories — 724 calories
These healthy recipes and many more can be found at www.web.extension.illinois.edu/INEP.