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Rehab Insights is a weekly blog written by Burke Rehabilitation professionals to offer practical information for patients, families and the community. Its goal is to educate the reader on relevant topics in rehabilitation, general health and wellness.

Try These Recipes for a Healthier Holiday

Healthy holiday eating? Isn’t that an oxymoron?  From Thanksgiving through New Years Day, we’re afloat in food paradise--surrounded by gooey desserts, crunchy snacks, oceans of gravy, and eggnog.  It's not a time for calorie counting. And anyway, we vow to lose any weight we gain with a New Year’s resolution to start eating healthy.

According to the National Institute of Health, a lot of us don’t lose those extra couple of pounds, which over the years can lead to obesity.

So how can we avoid overindulging in the first place?

Dietitians from Burke's Nutrition Team offer a few tips that might help us avoid eating a week’s worth of food at one party:

  1. Never go to a celebration hungry. Don’t skip meals in anticipation of filling up on all the ‘bad’ goodies later; you’ll probably consume many more calories than if you had eaten beforehand.
  2. Savor and enjoy holiday treats, while eating smaller portions. Use a smaller plate, which can help decrease the overall amount you eat.
  3. Remember that alcoholic and sugary drinks can add unwanted calories. You can cut the calories by drinking these beverages in moderation.  For every glass of beer, wine, eggnog or soda have a glass of water instead.
  4. Deliberately plan for exercise. It not only offsets overindulgence, it also lessens holiday stress, which itself can lead to overeating and drinking. Even a brisk 10-15 minute walk, twice a day counts.

Of course, no one wants to feel deprived, or deprive his or her guests of enjoying delicious food.  An easy way to help your family and friends is to add a few healthy recipes that are deceptively delicious. 

How about an appetizer of Guacamole Deviled Eggs, or Creamy Spinach Feta dip? Both of these can be prepared with low-fat ingredients.

Alongside the roast goose, you could serve Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Vegetables, an easy way to prepare a medley of seasonal goodness that even vegetable-avoiders can’t resist.

For a sweet, festive dessert, consider Baked Apples and Pears with Almonds.  A serving weighs in at 153 calories, compared to apple pie a la mode, which easily totals more than 700 for a small slice.  Or there’s Apple Bread Pudding  that tickles your sweet tooth and contains 5 grams of protein. 

The direct source for these and many other healthy recipes is the American Heart Association.  Simply go to this link, and you can search for appetizers, main dishes, soups, salads and desserts.

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Burke's Rehab Insights blog is intended to provide general information about rehabilitation and other health care topics. It should not take the place of medical care. Burke staff cannot comment on individual medical cases or give medical advice.

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