Doc Talk: Nutrition and enjoyment balance is possible during the holidays


Having a happy, healthy holiday is possible if you find a balance between enjoyment and nutrition, said Takara Page, a registered dietitian nutritionist with Ascension Borgess.

There are ways to cut back on carbohydrates and calories without sacrificing taste, Page said. Her first suggestion is to swap certain high-calorie food for foods with fewer calories.

“An option might be if you’re making mashed potatoes, use half cauliflower in your mashed potatoes,” she said. “That reduces the carbohydrate amount and increases the nutrients and you don’t even taste it. It’s delicious.”

A recipe for that potato-cauliflower dish can be found on Minimalist Baker website, and includes a low-calorie mushroom gravey.

Page also suggests using lots of seasonings and spices to amp up the flavor without amping up the calories.

Another tip, taking the time to savor every bite.

“Set your fork down between bites and enjoy that mouth feel, the texture, the taste take time to really enjoy your food,” she said.

Visual reminders such as your plate can help you stay on track as well. Page suggested mentally dividing your plate. It’s best to fill half with non-starchy vegetables. A quarter of the plate should be made up of proteins such as turkey, chicken or ham. The last section should be made up of starches and grains.

“So, if you have a balanced meal like that, you’re going to get really good nutrition but also be able to enjoy all of your holiday treats," she said.

Finally, when celebrating with spirits, Page cautioned about going over the recommended one to two drinks daily.

When drinking, remember this advice from Page: “For every glass of alcohol you have, you should have an 8-ounce glass of water and then take a multi-vitamin. Alcohol forces us to lose very important micro-nutrients through our kidneys. So, we’re losing vitamins, minerals, things that make us feel good and keep our body functioning.”

She said by taking the multi-vitamin and staying hydrated you’re more likely to feel better the next day.

Being active will also help you feel better if you do splurge over the holidays, Page said.

Read more:

Doc Talk: When it comes to working out, think differently about the holidays

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