Enjoy the Holidays without Compromising

Don't deny yourself the pleasures of the season
Published December 14, 2015

No month says food quite like December . With office parties, family get-togethers and festive friendly visits, the parade of guests and visitors in this time period literally overflows with food. How can we make it through the holiday season without blowing our plan big time this year? 

Take control of the food before it takes control of you

If you're the designated head chef in your family, you can decide what goes in, and what stays out of your meal. There are plenty of ways to prepare healthy versions of traditional holiday fare. "I am in charge of the cooking," says Crystal from Alberta. "My turkey will be roasted and stuffed with wild rice and brown rice, cranberries, apples and raisins. The gravy will be made with the drippings, fat taken off, mixed with orange or apple juice and thickened with a little flour. There will be pumpkin pie, but my piece will be without the crust and whipping cream. Veggies are mashed potatoes, spaghetti squash and turnips, cauliflower and a big salad with fruit."

Travelling light

Even if you're going to someone else's home for the holiday, you still have control over what, and how much, you eat. Plan ahead and bring a dish you've prepared. Your host, and your waistline, will thank you for it. "We're going away for Christmas, but I'll be sure to be the good guest and show up with a dish that will be a little more 'friendly' for anyone who is watching their weight," says Trina from Saskatchewan. "I'm thinking a pineapple dessert, with low-fat Cool Whip, fat-free vanilla pudding, and crushed pineapples over a graham wafer crust."

Sandra, from Ontario, is also planning a light holiday this year. "We'll be going to my mother-in-law's for the weekend. I will probably bring a salad since the vegetables are usually few and far between. I am also thinking of making a crust-less pumpkin pie. I know I will probably be the only one there who walks away from the table without that stuffed, bloated, 'I ate too much' feeling. I do not miss that feeling at all!"

Small indulgences

Don't deprive yourself! You really can taste everything and still avoid the traditional holiday loosening of the pants. "I will indulge in things that I wouldn't have on a regular basis, but I will only have a little of each, like a little stuffing, and a small piece of pumpkin pie," says Nancy from Alberta.

Don't forget, there are more ways to spend time with family over the holidays than just sitting around, eating. Why not go for a walk after supper, or build a snowman with the kids in the afternoon? "While the turkey is roasting," says Crystal, "everyone goes for a two-hour hike in Kananski Country just a few minutes outside Calgary. We've been doing this for years and everyone loves it!"

It's possible to enjoy all of your holiday meals without doing any major damage to your weight loss efforts. If you're doing the cooking, substitute healthier ingredients wherever you can. If you're someone's guest this year, be helpful by bringing along a healthy dish. As always, be mindful of your portions. With only a little extra effort, your holiday can be happy and healthy. Now that's something to be festive about!