Tips to eating healthier and making the season ‘lite’
As families prepare to celebrate the end-of-year holidays and say goodbye to 2013, they can make the season ‘lite’ with a healthy eating regimen that can help stave off holiday weight gain. The Florida Dairy Farmers offers some helpful tips to make holiday eating routines and end-of-year get-togethers a little more healthful.
It’s the “dairy” best time of the year. Dairy foods are not only delicious and nutritious, they are also extremely versatile. This means dairy food can be served in many dishes, from starters to the main course. Coupled with the fact that dairy provides nine essential nutrients – including protein, calcium and vitamins A, D, and B12 – that help maintain a healthy diet, it’s wise to make them a part of the menu.
Eat a nutritional breakfast – it’s the most important meal of the day. Three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt each day can help maintain a healthy weight. And by eating breakfast, you actually tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day.
While most people worry about over-eating during the holidays, many people tend to skip meals because of busy, over-scheduled days. Skipping meals means skipping important nutrients, so stock your refrigerator with healthy lite bites and on-the-go snacks like fruit, veggies, granola bars and cheese sticks (and stick some grab-and-go snacks in your purse or car). These healthy snacks fill you up, while limiting high calorie intake, which is important considering the average holiday meal can be as much as 3,000 calories – a day and a half worth of calories in one sitting. Remember, too, eating a small salad before a big meal can help you consume fewer calories overall.
Make appetizers healthy and appealing. Since appetizers set the stage for what’s to come, offering guests a variety of choices that are both tasty and nutritious can go a long way to encourage healthy eating throughout the affair. A spread that includes items like chopped vegetables, small turkey wraps or a cheese board of assorted varieties with whole wheat crackers is a great start.
Take your time and watch your portions. The amount of food a person eats is equally as significant as what they eat. Since food is generally plentiful at holiday functions, it’s important to pace yourself to prevent over-indulging. In addition, consider using smaller plates and even consuming half of the portions provided to avoid taking in excess calories.
When hosting your next holiday gathering, try serving the Cabot White Oak Cheddar Holiday Cheese Spread, and watch your guests dig in.
Cabot White Oak Cheddar Holiday Cheese Spread
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup White Oak Cheddar Cabot cheese
- 1/4 stick butter, softened
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons red bell pepper, finely minced
Directions: In a food processor, combine the first six ingredients and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and gently stir in the bell pepper. Place onto a sheet of waxed paper and roll into a log shape. Refrigerate 4 hours, or freeze one hour. Roll in chopped herbs to coat.
*Can be served with celery, bell peppers or crisp toasted baguette slices and crackers.
Alyssa Greenstein, RD, LD/N, Florida Dairy Farmers. For more information about Florida Dairy Farmers or to discover more healthy and delicious recipes for the holidays, visit www.floridamilk.com.