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Healthier Season's Treatings: The Main Course

The holidays are here! That means food and family.  You might be wondering how you can be healthy but still enjoy all the traditional food your family is accustomed to.  Consider a few healthful swaps to the main meal and stay on track!

4 0z of skinless turkey breast has:       

  • 152 calories
  • 0.8 grams fat
  • 34 grams protein

4 oz of roasted Ham has:

  • 238 calories
  • 10.7 grams fat
  • 33 grams protein

For the protein part of the meal - turkey has less calories and fat than ham.  Most of the time, turkey breast would be the leaner choice.  That being said, most people can incorporate ham into an eating plan without busting their health goals.  Controlling your portion is key.

Healthy Side Dish Swaps

When it comes to sides, think about ways to lighten up the recipe for a little more calorie friendly version.  You might not even taste the difference!

  • Swap out heavy cream for 2% milk - save 5 grams of fat per tablespoon
  • Swap out regular sour cream for low fat sour cream - save 90 calories and 12 grams of fat per 1/2 cup
  • Swap out regular chicken broth for low sodium chicken broth - saves 1000 mg of sodium per cup! Daily recommendations for sodium are 1500-2300 mg depending on your health conditions.

Need More Easy Swaps?

So you made the swaps but feel like you need more!  Add those fiber filled vegetables.  Try a roasted vegetable medley, caramelized brussels sprouts or a colorful side salad.  I suggest all patients offer to bring a vegetable side dish to their next gathering.  Everyone benefits and the fiber will help to fill you up and balance your portions of the other items.

Tips for Staying on Track

  • Plan exercise early in the day, so time doesn’t get away from you.
  • Plan an activity, walk or game after the main meal. Get everyone moving!
  • Don’t save your calories for one meal. Have a good protein packed breakfast to start your day off right.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water and avoid drinking excess calories throughout the day.
  • Most importantly - enjoy your family and friends. Enjoy the food as much as the company you are with.  Don’t guilt yourself over your food choices.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season!  Hope you enjoy some healthful holiday swaps this year.

Want more healthy holiday eating tips? Read more about healthy appetizers & beverages, or delicious desserts!

Ellen Thomsen, MS, RD, LMNT, CDE, IFNCP™
Ellen Thomsen, MS, RD, LMNT, CDE, IFNCP™

Ellen Thomsen, MS, RD, LMNT, CDE is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist and Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner. She is the diabetes education program coordinator at CHI Health and sees patients at the Millard Clinic. She works with patients to identify root causes to health conditions and make changes to improve overall health. Ellen’s passion is to help others develop lifestyle habits that allow them to feel their best.

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