Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's (almost) the holiday season.....

If you're on a weight-loss program, the holiday season can be the equivalent of The Robot screaming, "Danger, Will Robinson!" So what are you going to do to handle it?

One easy thing that you can do is make your recipes healthier. There are plenty of ways to substitute ingredients to cut fats, sugars and other empty calories, or add fiber. If you are a Weight Watchers member with access to eTools, please, please tell me you're using the Recipe Builder, because (seriously) that alone is worth the price of your Monthly Pass or eTools access. If you are not a WW member, fret not -- there are online ways to tweak your favorite recipe and make it healthier.

First, try substituting lower-fat, lower-calorie, lower-sugar ingredients within a recipe. The Mayo Clinic has this great list of ingredient substitution ideas -- both for baked goods and other items as well. The Heart Center of the Rockies offers these heart-healthy substitutions. In fact, the one item where I wouldn't make any major change is butter ..... if the recipe calls for butter and doesn't say "or margarine" then I'd use a light butter in place of regular butter instead. No offense intended to margarine; it's fine on toast but not always a good substitute for butter in a recipe, due to water content.

Okay, so you have your recipe, you've found some substitutions .... but just how much of a difference do these really make? Try an online recipe analyzer. A good one to try is available at (a division of SparkPeople) -- it's free, and also allows you to save recipes in a recipe box. You can share recipes, but with some copyright restrictions. Anyway, you put in your information by ingredients and measurements, then the number of servings, and a little nutrition label pops up. Try doing it with your original recipe, followed by the one with substitutions. You may see big changes -- you may cut calories, fat, sugars, increase fiber, etc. Or the changes may be smaller than you expect -- at which point you may consider changing portion size rather than ingredient list.

Too much trouble to analyze your favorite recipes? Try these sites that offer healthier options:
Still not sure you're up to all that? How about these tips:
  1. Exercise each day. Instead of watching the NFL, play a game of flag football. On Black Friday, do the shopping shuffle. Park far out at the mall and after every 3rd store you buy in, go take your stuff to the car.
  2. Control your portions. Do you really need a platter -- or that whole turkey leg, Henry VIII? Enjoy your food; don't inhale.
  3. WW members -- hit a meeting. Or two or three. However many you need. Friday, Saturday, maybe even Sunday if they have it. Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Go online and find a meeting near you if you're traveling. Get your support in.
  4. So you had a bad Turkey Day? Get back on track Friday. No excuses. None of this, "I'll wait till Monday." Each new day is a new opportunity; make the most of them.
But above all, remember the reason for the day -- no, not the Pilgrims, the Natives, the Lions, Packers or Cowboys. Give thanks. Think of every good thing you have going in your life -- yes, it's been a difficult year, but you are above ground and breathing; you have people for whom you care and who care about you; you have choices and freedoms, and that's more than a LOT of people in this world can say. So search your heart and be truly grateful for every gift in your life. A grateful heart is a satisfied one.


teacher617 said...

Thank you for all your good ideas. You are really awesome. I plan on using several. Thanks again.

Kelly O said...

Thanks for the links Annette!

nettiemac said...

Y'all are QUITE welcome!!!