Healthier Food Options During the Holidays

Pass on a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Guilt by making smart choices when eating over the holidays, starting with these tasty alternatives

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Follow the 12 days of Christmas temptations guide and enjoy the holidays without the (waist-line) hangover

Avoiding weight gain during the holidays is no easy feat, thanks to so many deliciously tempting (and often, bad-for-you) choices shoved in your face wherever you go. But choosing to eat healthier this season doesn’t mean giving up on taste. For every unhealthy option, there’s an equally yummy, waistline-friendly alternative.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Day 1 — Christmas Shopping at the Mall

Food temptation Deep-fried fast food
Healthier option Fresh salad bar

Fuel up after a long day of shopping with a meal-sized salad. Start with dark, leafy greens and raw vegetables. Choose a lean protein like tuna, turkey or edamame, and finish off with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Day 2 — The Office Christmas Party

Food temptation Mini quiches
Healthier option Shellfish and crudités

You need to strategize before entering a dietary war zone. Dodge the pastries, creamy dips and anything deep-fried. Instead, pick prawns, smoked salmon, tuna and raw veggies with salsa.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Day 3 — Dinner Party with Friends

Food temptation Yule log
Healthier option Baked fruit

Ingratiate yourself with the hostess by offering to bring dessert. Baked pears, plum and figs will provide guests with a guiltless treat to end the night.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Day 4 — Christmas Market

Food temptation Waffles with whipped cream
Healthier option Roasted chestnuts

Follow your nose to the roasted chestnuts. They pack a nutritional punch at only 150 calories per half cup, are loaded with iron, B vitamins, magnesium and folate, plus they are a fantastic source of fibre.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Day 5 — Cookie Exchange

Food temptation Cookies
Healthier option Crackers

Convince your friends to substitute crackers for cookies this year. Use whole grain flour, flax and sesame seeds to create a healthy snack. They also make a great hostess gift.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Day 6 — Skating

Food temptation Hot chocolate
Healthier option Green, white or oolong tea

One cup of hot chocolate equals 150 calories and a whopping 25 grams of sugar. Opt for a cup of green, white or oolong tea instead. These teas are loaded with antioxidants that help protect your cells from damage.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Day 7 — Holiday Movie

Food temptation Large popcorn with butter
Healthier option Just the movie

A large popcorn with butter will set you back a colossal 1,440 calories! Break the connection of junk food with movies. Stroll on past the concession stand and enjoy the movie for the entertainment, not the sodium bomb.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Day 8 — Christmas Cocktails

Food temptation Eggnog
Healthier option Champagne

At 310 calories a glass, rum and eggnog is a sinful Christmas treat to be sure. A festive flute of bubbly, on the other hand, measures a modest 80 calories. Try to keep your consumption to a maximum of two alcoholic beverages.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Day 9 — Christmas Vacation

Food temptation Eating out
Healthier option Stock the bar fridge

Eating out at every meal can really stretch your waistline. Instead, stock the bar fridge in your hotel room with healthy breakfast items to nourish you through to lunchtime.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Day 10 — Tree Trimming

Food temptation Shortbread
Healthier option Fruit and nuts

Substitute the shortbread for slices, pears, cinnamon-dusted apples and mandarin oranges. A bowl of dry-roasted nuts will add protein, calcium and a savoury twist to your yuletide snack.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Day 11 — Christmas Eve

Food temptation Meat pie
Healthier option Seafood and salad

Follow the French tradition and kick off the evening with raw oysters. Oysters are rich in zinc, which helps keep your immune system strong. Next, enjoy a fillet of sablefish or wild salmon with plenty of veggies and a green salad for a light, nutritious meal.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Day 12 — Christmas Day

Food temptation Turkey with all the trimmings
Healthier option Be satisfied, not stuffed

It would be blasphemous to suggest that your Christmas feast should be a low-calorie meal. Instead, practice being “one and done,” meaning no second helpings. Serve yourself a moderate portion of turkey and your favourite side dishes. Eat slowly and enjoy every bite. After all, this wonderful meal only happens once a year.