Ronda Elsenbrook, a dietitian with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, recommends some keys to eating nutritious food during the holidays and not consuming too many calories.
HYDRATE – Stay hydrated with water and limit high-calorie coffees, cocktails and other beverages.
PORTION CONTROL – Throughout the holiday season, there is a greater variety of foods around. Be selective and keep portions small. Consider allowing only yourself one treat per day.
TAME YOUR HUNGER – Control your appetite at special events by eating small healthy meals/snacks throughout the day. Do not starve all day to save calories before a party or special dinner as this usually backfires and you end up eating more that you should. Snack on raw vegetables or a piece of fruit before heading out to a party to take the edge off your hunger. Be selective at holiday buffets.
REDUCE CALORIES IN RECIPES – Using pureed fruits and canned pumpkin puree can reduce fat, sugar and calories of recipes and add extra vitamins and minerals. Try no-added-sugar applesauce or pureed prunes in place of half of the refined sugar in recipes. To reduce fat, use canned pumpkin puree in place of half the butter or oil in sweet breads, muffins and brownies. Replace bleached all-purpose flour with whole wheat all-purpose flour or try blending oatmeal in place of one-third of regular bleached flour to increase fiber and make small portions of treats more filling. Reducing the portion size of any recipe will always help, even if the ingredients are not changed.
KEEP UP EXERCISE – Exercise is even more important during the holiday season to manage stress as well as burn off extra calories. Be flexible with your regular routine and allow for convenient options to fit it in at different times of the day. Consistency is what counts.
Guiltless Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars
- 1 cup whole wheat all-purpose flour
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- Cooking spray
- 1 1/3 cup dried cranberries (approximately 6 ounces)
- 2/3 cup light sour cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup no added sugar applesauce or pureed prunes
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- For crust, combine flour, oats, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a bowl and stir well with a whisk. Drizzle butter and juice over the mixture and stir until moistened. Press half of the mixture into the prepared baking dish and reserve the other half of mixture for a topping.
- For the filling, combine cranberries, sour cream, sugar and remaining ingredients in a bowl stirring well. Spread cranberry mixture over prepared crust and sprinkle the reserved oat mixture evenly over filling.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool completely in pan and then cut into 24 squares.