Since we strive to help keep our customers healthy with our sushi and other menu items, we wanted to give you some advice on how to make good decisions this holiday season! Check out what our friends at Lifestyle Revolutions have to say about staying healthy & fit during the holiday season:
As a fitness professional, I have clients, friends and family members all ask me similar questions: “How do I keep the holiday pounds off?”
Did you know that “holiday weight gain” is ranked as the #2 fear of people during the holiday season? “Long lines and tough crowds” ranked as #1. I don’t know about you, I can usually avoid crowds by shopping online, but is it as easy to keep the weight off or better yet, even lose weight during the seasonal months? I say it is definitely possible and I can give you great tips on how to stay fit, slim, and healthy during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Before we dive in, let’s look into this “holiday weight gain” concept a little deeper… According to several health studies, most people believe that the average person gains between 1-10 pounds during the holiday season. In actuality, in average, people only tend to gain 1 pound with both Thanksgiving and Christmas!
This actually surprised me a bit because I am used to a heavy amount of new and motivated goal-setters that march into the gym the first week of January with new tennis shoes in hand, fresh yoga mat and a slightly nervous but determined look on their faces. These folks are ready to get serious about turning over a new leaf and about shedding off their “winter coats”.
The weight gain most people are referring to is the result of an accumulation of negative behaviors such as 6 weeks of less exercise, an increase in parties and events with high calorie food and drinks available, larger portions sizes during meals which causes the stomach to adapt to large amounts of food, and multiple layers of clothing which can hide the holiday bulge making weight gain seem hidden and manageable. So as you can see, the weight gain that people fear is not a result of 2 days of eating, rather it is the accumulation of choices made during the 6-week period.
What is the plan of action against the holiday offenses? Let me give you a game plan and help you beat the weight gain trend for life.
Game plan for your activity before and after:
1. Studies have shown that if you exercise 30 minutes to 1 hour before the event and also first thing in the morning the day after, your body will store less of the calories as fat. The body will only store it in a “temporary storage” area: the muscle cells. The problem is when there isn’t any activity or exercise. The body will then store it away nice and tight in a fat cell. This takes a little more time for you to burn off in the future.
2. If you are in a situation where you absolutely cannot exercise, do anything you can to help clean, chase the kids around or straighten up any messes. Any activity is better than no activity. Just make sure to exercise at your next available time!
3. Check out any local running or walking events in your area and ask if any of your friends or family members would like to join you. This is a wonderful mindset switch to a day of activity rather than a day of lounging and stuffing our bellies.
4. Find pockets of 10 minutes where you can do a short, but intense workout. An example would be: 1 minute jumping jacks, 1 minute running in place, 1 minute body weight squats, 1 minute lunges, 1 minute wall or floor pushups. Repeat this one more time for a quick, 10 minute workout.
Game plan for your nutrition before, during, and after:
Even though avoidance is the surest way to keep from gaining weight, Aunt Sally’s cherry pie, your office Christmas party, and a large array of holiday appetizers, treats and munchies can be hard to resist.
1. One of my favorite ways of staying on track is contributing to the smorgasbord with my own dishes that I have made from home. I set my own diet-safe appetizers along with the others so that I can avoid other foods that may be triple the amount of calories than I was planning on consuming that day.
2. Keep your calories lower the day before, and the day after so that you can afford to splurge a little on the day of the event. If I am running errands and I want a healthy, no-guilt lunch, I am going to how do you roll? for their awesome Ceviche Appetizer for 225 calories, 12 grams of fat, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 8.5 grams of protein. I love that I can grab something fresh, and guilt free to keep my energy up and my calories in check.
3. Fill your plate first with lean meats and freshly cooked vegetables (green beans over the green bean casserole). Pick 2 of your favorite “splurge” items and put half the amount that your normally would onto your plate. Vow to not go back for seconds of those items!
4. Drink water before, during, and after you eat your meal. You will get a feeling of fullness that will keep you from overeating. Also, sipping on water or a non-calorie beverage can keep your from munching on things before and after you eat.
Here are some traditional holiday recipes that have gone to REHAB. Try them out this year!
Green Bean Casserole
4 cups frozen French-style green beans
10 ¾ oz can condensed Healthy Choice cream of mushroom soup
½ cup fat free or light sour cream
1 tbsp diced pimento (optional)
¼ cup canned chow mein fried noodles
- Lightly cook frozen beans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a casserole dish or 9×9 inch dish, combine condensed soup, sour cream, and pimento. Measure 4 cups of cooked green beans, add to dish and stir.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle chow mein noodles over the top and bake 5 minutes more.
Makes 6 servings
1 serving: 102 calories, 2 grams fat, 16 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein.
Cranberry Walnut Dressing
1 ½ cups finely sliced celery heart
1 ½ cups chopped onion
3 tbsp butter
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth (liquid)
16 oz can whole berry cranberry sauce
4 tsp of low sodium chicken broth (powder)
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (liquid)
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp ground pepper
14 oz (about 8 cups) herb-seasoned bread cubes for stuffing
2/3 cups walnuts, toast4ed for 1 minute under broiler to lightly brown
- In a dutch oven for stock pot, simmer celery and onion in the butter and 1 cup chicken broth until tender. While onion and celery mixture is simmering in a small saucepan, mix cranberry sauce with the 4 tsp of chicken broth powder over low heat until broth powder dissolves.
- Add seasonings and 2 cups chicken broth to celery and onion mixture. Add bread cubes and stir until evenly moistened. Drizzle cranberry mixture over the top of the bread mixture and sprinkle walnuts over cranberry mixture. Stir to mix evenly. Cover and let sit on warm setting of stove for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Makes about 16 servings of 1 cup per person.
Per serving: 200 calories, 6 grams fat, 32.5 grams carbohydrates, 4.5 grams protein.
“Fake” Mashed Potatoes
1.5 lb raw cauliflower bunch
¼ cup fat free milk
1/8 cup heart-healthy “butter spread”
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cracked pepper
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp garlic powder
1/8-1/4 cup reduced fat Parmesan or Swiss cheese (optional)
- Break up the cauliflower into smaller pieces or chop thoroughly. Steam cauliflower in microwave until tender and easily pierced.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and blend in a high power blender or food processor. Serve very warm.
Per ¼ batch: 180 calories, 7 grams fat with cheese (2 grams fat without cheese), 2 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein
Skinny Pumpkin Pie
15 oz canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp light butter, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar, unpacked
½ cup fat free milk
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 frozen pie crust sheet, Pillsbury (thawed to room temperature)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly dust a large, flat surface with flour. Roll out room temperature pie crust sheet, so it is thin enough to cut off about 30%, so that your final crust is 5oz. Place into 9-inch pie dish, cutting off extra dough.
- Pour pumpkin into large bowl. Add light butter, and mix well. Using an electric mixer, mix in brown sugar, milk, eggs, egg whites, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Beat on medium until mixture is smooth. Pour into unbaked pie crust.
- 4. Bake 60 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
Makes 8 servings
1 serving is 172 calories, 6.5 grams fat, 31.5 grams carbohydrates, 3.5 grams protein
Have a healthy Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Julienne Colon, Lifestyle Revolutions