Sunday, November 21, 2010

As the Holidays Begin…

If you are in the US, you know that this week is Thanksgiving week. People are talking about turkey here and there like they can’t wait. As for me, I don’t get uber excited about turkey. I need to marinade it in some pepper and spices before it even leaves the ‘bland’ section. But because it is turkey, these spices don’t usually get all the way in. Well, if I can’t cook the turkey Naija style, I guess I probably won’t cook the turkey.

Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, you know that the holidays are here and that usually means food, food, food. If you are looking for some healthy options for the holidays, here are a few things you can add to the dinner table to reduce the calories without reducing the flavor.

Make your own drinks: So I know holidays are usually our chance to drink as much Coke and Malta Guinness as humanly possible (or was that only me as a child?). But rather than spend money on soda, why not make your own Kunu and Zobo instead? Sometimes, we give our local drinks the cold shoulder when we’re trying to prove fancy, but these drinks are so much better for us than the over-processed alternative. Zobo is such an easy option since it basically makes itself. All you have to do is soak the leaves in hot water for a while to get all the juice out, sieve out the leaves add in some flavoring, sugar, ginger, or whatever fruit you like to give it a fruity taste, and throw it in the fridge to cool off. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!

Don’t ‘rice’ everything: Why not introduce some diversity to the dinner table? Most of the time, we make rice the highlight, and everything else is kind of a side dish. This year, you could make just as much rice as you make beans and vegetables so that you’re forced to fill half your plate with some healthy options.

‘Appetize’ your guests: If you’re serving appetizers, try not to serve anything that you’ll have to cook. When you cook appetizers, you get tempted to bake and serve all sorts of pastries. Instead, buy a lot of fruits and vegetables. Chop them up and lay them out beautifully. So while you’re waiting for the main course, if you’re tempted to touch anything, you’d be surrounded by fruits and vegetables so that’s all you’d eat.

Reduce the oil consumption: Fried meat is great, but to reduce the oil in your food, try grilling. Make fried rice, stew, jollof rice with just a splatter of oil. Sometimes, I make fried rice without any oil at all. I just use some pan spray to reduce stickiness, and let the meat stock and vegetables do their job. Throw in some liver and it gets even tastier :)

Introduce healthy desserts: Remember pumpkin pie? A few weeks ago, we did talk about some healthy dessert options. Try some of these over the holidays. Check that article out here.

Spice up your veggie options: As you try to introduce more veggies to the dinner table, try to keep it colorful and interesting. The more colorful the vegetables, the better they are for you. Instead of just lettuce, celery, and carrots, steam up some green beans, Brussels sprouts, spinach, asparagus. Maybe grill them up with some garlic and peppers to give it an inviting smell and add a little flavor.

Alcohol options: As we’re thinking of what we eat, let’s also consider what we drink. It’s easy to think all alcohol is the same, but it’s not. Here is a list of “stay away from!” and “drink in moderation” in the quantities that they are usually served.
Stay Away From: White Russian (710 calories for 8 ounces), Egg Nog (360 calories for 1 cup), and Margarita (400 calories for 8 ounces), Long Island Iced Tea (780 calories for 8 ounces).
Drink in Moderation: Gin and tonic (192 calories for 8 ounces), Champagne (90 calories for 4 ounces), Apple Martini (150 calories for 3 ounces), Mimosa (80 calories for 4 ounces), Vodka and tonic (200 calories for 8 ounces), and of course, Wine (95 calories for 4 ounces).

Physically force yourself not to overeat: Do realize it’s all about portion control, so even though it may be difficult to say no to a second helping, you’ll feel so much better in the morning. This might sound crazy, but you may have to actually take physical precautions to help you avoid overeating. Some of these are: sitting as far away from where the food is laid out, getting up from the dinner table as soon as you’re done eating, playing some fun games to get your mind off the food, or even chewing gum to get the taste of food out of your mouth.
Share your own tips. How do you plan to stay healthy over the holidays?

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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1 comment:

  1. thanks for the tips, will try not too take too much coke and eat too much rice during christmas. someone told me to mix some lemon juice with my water so i can loose weight around my waist, is it healthy? does it work?
    i started doing the crunches just like i saw here, not been easy but am sure i'll soon get used to it.
    keep up the good work.


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