Helpful Hints to Cut the Holiday Fat

Trim the fat this holiday.

The holidays aren't just about giving, they're about receiving a few extra servings of your favorite foods and a few extra pounds.

Faced with so many goodies, the average American gains 5 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. However, it is possible to enjoy the holidays without sacrificing your health. Here are some helpful hints.

Food can stir up fond memories of the holidays. Yet Julie Theiss, R.D., of the Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida, says sometimes one meal can stuff more than the turkey.

"Usually (a holiday meal) can have between 1,800 to 2,000 calories and can have maybe 60, up to 80 grams of fat," she says.

That's almost as much fat as a stick of butter.

So where can we start trimming the fat?

"What you want to do is go for the white meat," Theiss says. "Four ounces have 220 calories and only 2 grams of fat. To modify our mashed potatoes, what we can do is use skim milk and avoid that butter."

How much savings does that provide? Five grams of fat.

Also, fill up on healthy vegetables to avoid over-stuffing on stuffing. "Prepared the usual way with a lot of the butter adds about 221 calories and 13 grams of fat," Theiss says.

Just one potato latke, a Hanukkah treat with sour cream, has 300 calories and 20 grams of fat. To make it more healthy, Theiss suggests using a canola oil to decrease the amount of fat. And by choosing pumpkin pie instead of pecan, you'll save at least 20 grams of fat.

Overall, modifying your holiday meal can save you almost 1,800 calories and 60 grams of fat.

The average person would have to run almost 20 miles to burn off the traditional holiday meal. Other ways to cut the fat:

  •     Substitute applesauce for oil in baked goods.
  •     Use cocoa powder instead of baking chocolate.
  •     Swap low-fat yogurt for mayonnaise or sour cream.

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