It happens every year. The holiday season rolls around, and by the time it’s over, you’re looking at the new year with a new waistline. Added stress, shorter days and an abundance of holiday goodies makes it easy to over-indulge. But it’s not always what you eat that can have your abs of steel looking more like a bowl full of jelly.
According to Kris Walahoski, RDN, LMNT, CDE, dietitian at CHI Health Good Samaritan, when watching our weight, we tend to think about the plate and forget the cup.
“Everyone knows holiday cookies, caramels and fudges are loaded with fats and sugars,” Walahoski says.” “But we forget about our traditional beverages.”
Your favorite peppermint espresso drinks and hot buttered rum eggnog can easily run 300-500 calories per cup. At the risk of being a Scrooge, Walahoski reminds us, “It’s going to take approximately 90 minutes of extra walking just to burn off the calories consumed in those drinks alone.”
To make matters worse, experts report our brain registers liquid calories differently. Most likely because we aren’t actively biting or chewing.
“When drinking calories, it takes longer for us to feel full. Plus we’re not good about then consuming less solid calories to compensate,” says Walahoski.
Watching the calories you drink can go a long way in helping to maintain your weight. And considering our soda, juice and pumpkin spice latte consumption as a country, it’s something we could afford to think about year-round.
Bottom line: Swapping cookies for carrot sticks is beneficial for Santa’s middle, but don’t forget to also switch his glass of milk to 1 percent or skim.
These smart, yet tasty drinks can help shave off a few hundred unnecessary calories this Christmas:
· Try adding vanilla extract to prepared black coffee or cinnamon to your grounds before brewing coffee.
· Make water more exciting by adding slices of lemon, lime, orange or cucumber.
· Add a splash of 100 percent juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.
· Use fat-free or 1 percent milk instead of 2 percent or whole in coffees and cocoas.
· Choose sugar-free flavoring: same taste with no calories.
· Skip the whipped topping. It adds extra calories and fat.
· Stay hydrated with good old H2O so you don’t confuse hunger with thirst.
No Guilt Sparkling Pomegranate Mocktail
A cocktail style, non-alcoholic punch that is perfect for the holidays.
3 cups sparkling apple cider
4 cups brewed chai tea, cooled
2 cups pomegranate juice
Pomegranate seeds as garnish
Mix cider, chai, and pomegranate juice together. Serve in champagne flute or martini glasses, and garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Yields 16 servings
Serving size: ½ cup
Nutrition information per serving:
40 calories; 0 g fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 0g fiber; 0g protein, 10g carbohydrates; 8mg sodium; 34mg potassium