Over the holidays it's hard to avoid temptation. According to a study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000, most of the weight we gain in a year happens during the month of December. Just one pound doesn't seem like a lot but, if you don't lose it, it adds up to the 10 pounds per decade that is too much. To help us get through December without an extra 10 lbs is nuritionist Theresa Albert’s holiday edition of Eat This, Not That.
- Sugary drinks
- Pre-mixed bottled cocktails
- Avoid tonic water! It has the same calories as pop!
- Egg Nog
All of these drinks contain more sugar than you think! Tonic, even though it has a bitter taste, has the same amount of sugar as cola. Don't be fooled! According to a recent University of Buffalo study, obese mice were less able to taste sweetness because their tastebuds actually became less sensitive as they gained weight. Your best bet is to avoid sugar in your cocktails.
- Dirty martini: olive juice is natural
- Soda water: it has zero calories while keeping the fun fizzy element to your drink
- Infuse your own vodka! (jalapeno vodka, super spicy and lots of flavour, no added calories)
Vodka or gin flavoured with a little olive juice adds about 20 calories. If you're a vodka tonic kinda guy, try going with vodka soda with a splash of tonic for flavour and more lime. You'll drop 60-80 calories per drink! Infused vodka is also a great alternative. You can add flavour without calories and top it with soda.
- Lentils: found in the dip! Lentil and/or chickpea hummus
Usually we feel we can eat endless amounts of veggies, but what we need to keep in mind is that they create gas, causing us to feel bloated in our cute party outfits. Cruciferous vegetables are classically hard to digest because of their high fibre and polysaccharide type. Similarly, beans and bean dips cause gas and bloating that will make your pants tight by the end of the night.
- Red Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
These veggies can be more easily digested and don't cause gas, resulting in a bloated feeling. All three are high in water content, which will help you flush out any sins that you may commit. These three veggies also have a more intense "umami" or savoury flavour that can make you feel more satisfied.
- Baked brie with a sweet topping
- Dried fruit
Don’t start with the cheese plate! Make cheese a reward. Stand next to the veggie platter and munch until you are full-ish. The baked brie are ubiquitous and impossible to resist! With or without crust, they are too high cal. They run at about 300 calories per mouthful. Also be careful with dried fruit in this setting, It is high sugar and high cal.
- Yogurt dips like a tzatziki
- Goat's cheese rolled in cranberries
Instead of a melted cheese dip opt for a yogurt dip to cut the fat. When navigating the cheese plate try to choose the goat's cheese because it’s lower in fat and calories. It’s almost always a better choice than most of the alternatives on the cheese plate. Your best accompaniment is mustard, no calories and very high flavour. Keep in mind that while you can eat crackers you need to keep track of how many! Count your crackers! Four is equivalent to a slice of bread and we eat handfuls if we don’t pay attention.
- Coconut shrimp
- Stuffed jalapeno poppers
- Sausage rolls
You know Theresa's rule: nothing deep fried, and adding coconut adds too many calories. With stuffed jalapeno poppers it depends upon the stuffing. If it had lean meat, maybe… but cream cheese and deep fried? No way! Sausage rolls are way too high calories, and once you start, it’s hard to stop.
- Shrimp cocktail
- Lamb chops, chicken satay, any baked or grilled meat with a dip
- Swedish meatballs
Peel and eat shrimp are lean and relatively low in calories, plus they take a long time to eat! Any grilled meat is a better alternative to something crispy and deep fried. The high protein will help turn off that hunger message. Finally, the Swedish meatballs are okay as long as you avoid drenching them in a sweet sauce.