Top 10 Holiday Tips and Tricks

1. Identify your non-negotiables
Figuring out what foods are absolutely necessary during a holiday is key to creating a good game plan. Identify the foods that you “need” to have to feel like you’re getting the most out of your holiday meal, and don’t guilt yourself for eating them. Enjoy them, don’t over-do it, and move on.

2. Keep Yourself in Check and Look Ahead
Remember that you are in control of what goes in your mouth. Keep away from the mindless snacking and it will greatly decrease the extra calories you’re likely to consume. Look ahead at the week you have and pinpoint any times that you think will be a challenge when it comes to eating right. Identify those road blocks and come up solutions that will keep you on track.

3. Survey the Buffet
Scope out your options first. Pick out the foods you absolutely have to try, and balance those out with healthier options. Once you’re done with your plate, get up and walk around after; distance yourself from the food table to limit temptation.

4. Follow the “half your plate” rule
Filling half of your plate with vegetables will dramatically decrease empty calories that are often so available at parties. Whether they’re raw, steamed, grilled, or baked, they’ll provide you will plenty of fiber and antioxidants which will leave you full and satisfied.

5. Pick your “cheat day”
Planning ahead goes along with picking the days in which you’ll allow yourself to indulge. If you know you have a party one day out of the week, pick that day to loosen up and let yourself enjoy that mac and cheese or pasta salad. Keeping yourself in check the rest of the week will help you find that healthy balance. Pick one day a week, and no more.

6. Focus on the holiday, not the food
We’re so accustomed to relating food to events; birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, showers, whatever the occasion. Focus on the people around you and enjoy the company you have rather than thinking about the food you’re going to eat. Keeping them the focus of the event helps put food to the side.

7. Drink before you drink
Alcohol can tack on calories very quickly at parties. Start by drinking 20oz of water, and another 20oz for every drink that you have. It will cut down on the risk of a hangover, as well as keeping calories low.

8. Check out the Menu
If you’re going out to a restaurant, always google the menu and nutrition facts so you have a game plan as to what options are healthier. Planning the choices you have will prevent the mind game of what to order, and you’ll have more time to focus on the company the surrounds you.

9. Avoid Store-Bought Anythings
Would you rather have homemade chocolate cake, or store bought brownies? There’s nothing special about store bought foods, you can get them at any time. Save the real indulgence for foods that are homemade with real ingredients and better taste.

10. Keep on Snacking
Keeping quick snacks in your car or in your purse is only going to help to make sure you don’t go more than 5 hours without eating. Always prevent yourself from getting too hungry, because that’s when we make bad choices. Lean on nuts, granola bars, or dried fruit to prevent that “hangry” urge.

Chicken BLT Salad with Jalapeno-Ranch Dressing

Serves: about 6, serving size: 1.5-2 cups

2 bags or one head of romaine lettuce

½ lb low-sodium bacon

1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced

1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced into bite-sized pieces

2-3 jalapenos

1/2c light ranch dressing

  1. Preheat oven to 425⁰ and place bacon on a lined baking pan. *The bacon will crisp up better if you place a cooling rack under the bacon so the fat can drip off while baking.
  2. While you’re waiting for the oven to heat, slice cherry tomatoes, and cut and de-vein the jalapenos. Slice the jalapenos into thirds and place into a small food processor.
  3. Add ranch dressing to the food processor and puree jalapenos and dressing until there are no more chunks.
  4. Cook bacon for 15 minutes, flip, and cook for another 8-10 minutes until bacon is cooked and crispy.
  5. Assemble your salad with romaine, tomatoes, chicken, bacon, and drizzle with jalapeno-ranch dressing.

185 Calories. Fat 11g. Protein 16g

KP’s Tip: Sprinkle with parmesan cheese for a little more flavor. You can also use turkey bacon to cut down on the sodium. This is also a great salad for lunches for the week! Easy to assemble, little ingredients, and SO delicious!