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‘Tis the Season to be Healthy

If you’re like me, your favorite part of holiday get-togethers is snacks. Couple rich, indulgent appetizers with the calorie-laden meals that follow, and things can get out of hand pretty quickly. I’m not advocating cutting back on any of your favorite dishes this season. Instead, here are healthy tips so you can snack smarter without missing out on holiday joy.

Swap your potatoes for cauliflower. A delicious alternative to potatoes is cauliflower. You can find yummy recipes for cauliflower mash, cauliflower tots, and even baked cauliflower topped with all the fixings of a regular baked potato. If you’re going to a friend’s place for dinner, offer to bring your own cauliflower speciality along.

Eat a snack before going to a party. Have yogurt or fruit, a few crackers with low-fat cheese (trying Laughing Cow), vegetables or a skim-milk latte with sugar-free caramel. If you’re ravenously hungry, have a low-carb protein bar with your latte.
Let your eyes feast first. Before eating, see what is being served. If there are raw vegetables or plain seafood with no cocktail sauces, start with those to take the edge off your appetite.

Avoid guilty pleasures you can have anytime. Chips, chocolates and cupcakes are something you can eat year round. If you’re indulging this holiday season, go with seasonal favourites such as rum-drenched fruitcake or gingerbread. Enjoy, but keep your portions small.
Be the designated driver. Have one alcoholic beverage, and for the rest of the evening choose drinks like sparkling water or a diet soda. If you do choose to drink, stick to lighter colored alcoholic beverages with water or sparkling water. Remember, an eight-ounce serving of eggnog has about 362 calories, juice and pop can contain anywhere between 110-150 calories, whereas soda water and diet drinks have no calories.

Plan ahead with tempting and health substitutions. Fresh veggies with low-fat dips rather than nachos; salsa instead of a creamy dip; lettuce wraps versus egg rolls; chicken satay, not wings; gingerbread instead of buttery shortbread; sushi, not sausage rolls.
Lighten up your favorite recipes. Use skim milk instead of whole milk in mashed potatoes; use herbs and lemon to flavor food instead of gravy and butter; cut the carbs from stuffing by using less bread and more vegetables.

Stop mindless nibbling. When you’re cooking, or helping with the cooking, chew a piece of minty sugar-free gum. When you chew gum you’re less likely to put something else in your mouth.

Swap full-fat for low-fat. Include some lower-fat varieties with 15% of less M.F., like goat cheese, Cantenaar or low-fat cheddar or havarti. Serve them with mini-crackers like Bretons instead of French bread or baguettes. Make a delicious creamy spinach dip by using low-fat cream cheese instead of full-fat.

By Am Sahota
Training Day Cafe

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