Preventing Holiday Weight Gain

Dec 2 2008 - 1:34pm

TODAY'S GOAL: Dieting through the Holidays

Season's Greetings Friends!

It's Marygrace - contributing writer for TeamDiets, here wishing
you a wonderful holiday season!

Please don't tell me that you are dreading it because you are going
to gain 10 or even 15 pounds before it is over! Where's your WILL

Is it possible to make it through the holidays and maintain your
present weight or even lose a pound or two? Of course it is! It
may not be easy - as a matter of fact it can be downright HARD to
do! After all, it's the time of the year when family and friends
gather (some whom aren't seen in some time or only during the
holiday season), holiday parties at work, home, with friends,
neighbors, etc. but you know what? I have faith in you that you
can do it!

How about surviving the party where you are the guest and not the
hostess? What do you do?

Call the hostess before the party and ask what is on the menu.
Don't be afraid to ask the hostess to set aside a small portion of
something for you before it gets laden with stuffings, sauces, etc.
Your hostess will understand. And you can always offer to bring a
healthy dish or two and share with others.

Are you counting calories or are you counting carbs on your diet?
Keep them very low at home so that you don't go over at the party.

Before you leave for the party, enjoy a bowl of salad to help fill
you – especially if you know that there really isn't much of a
selection of "diet" food for you to enjoy.

Try to stand "away" from the food tables to prevent munching

Do you have a "buddy" there who will help you to keep an eye on
what you are eating and to remind you when it looks like you are
going over?

Spread your food out on your plate instead of heaping it on the

Surviving the party when you are the hostess is much easier because
you can control the foods being served. Trays of fresh fruits and
veggies are always refreshing for everyone to enjoy. A low-fat,
low-carb or low-calorie dip or two won't hurt. You can broil or
grill meats and poultry, or you can roast or bake in the oven to
help minimize the fats.

Even your side dishes can be made to be lighter, fat-free,
reduced-fat or lower in calories.

Desserts can be fresh fruits, yogurts, granitas, etc.

Just because it's the holiday that is no excuse for any weight
gain. And if you do gain any weight you can only blame yourself.
You don't have to "graze" at every buffet you see. And whatever
you do – if you do err, and happen to over eat or binge – just
watch what you eat for the next 3 days. It will take 3 days for
your "binge" to turn to fat so that will give you 3 days to eat
healthy (not starve or do a liquid diet thing) and continue to
exercise and do your deep-breathing exercises.

A silly liquid or juice fast will only make you binge again. And
we all know that it is not healthy to do. Remember – healthy
weight loss done in moderation and well-maintained sensibly is the
key to keeping it off.

Also – remember this: don't set yourself up for failure. Be
realistic. Keep your mind set on maintaining your weight instead
of trying to lose during the holidays. That will take pressure off

The holidays are for spending time with friends and family – the
foods should not be the most important thing to you. You don't
have to deprive yourself of the holiday foods – very small portions
will do. At least you will still get to taste them and you won't
feel deprived. When it comes to finger foods – try to avoid them
as much as possible.

And relax during the holidays. Do some deep-breathing exercises
daily. Grab a yoga or Tai chi DVD and do it for 15 minutes. The
holidays are stressing. Stress causes overeating.

By the way – you can make it "harder" to ingest much – just wear
tight pants that won't allow it! When you start eating and that
waistband feels tighter – STOP eating. Or tighten that belt and
don't loosen it.

And now – what about alcohol consumption? Really keep that in
moderation. Drinking will justify that third helping – and that
you don't need!

One key to successfully losing weight is remembering that home
cooking is healthier than eating out, pre-packaged foods and fast
foods. Fresh ingredients are not only healthier, but can be
prepared in so many different ways that you would never tire of

Busy schedule doesn't allow for cooking all the time? Big batch
cooking works! Just portion and freeze. And by doing that you are
preventing all those "seconds" or "thirds" you may reach for.

Although it is a busy time of the year, try to get out and take a
nice walk before retiring. Not only will it aid in digestion, but
it will help you sleep better. If you are walking or exercising
on a regular schedule, don't let the holidays interfere with it –
continue. But whatever you do – DON'T use walking and exercising
as an excuse to INDULGE!

Check out the recipes posted to TeamDiets! And if there is a
recipe you need – please ask! I'm quite sure that someone will
have what you are looking for!

And if you must do some holiday baking – try to make it lighter.
Here are some lighter alternative recipes you can try:

Angel Food Cake

1 1/2 cups egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup SPLENDA Sugar Blend for Baking
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sifted cake flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup SPLENDA Sugar Blend for Baking

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl; let stand at room
temperature for 30 minutes. Add cream of tartar and vanilla
extract. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks
form. Gradually add 1/4 cup SPLENDA Sugar Blend for Baking and
light corn syrup.
3. Sift flour and cornstarch 2 times into another large mixing
bowl. Add 3/4 cup SPLENDA Sugar Blend for Baking to flour mixture,
stirring until blended.
4. Sprinkle 1/4 of the flour mixture over the egg whites. Fold
gently. Repeat procedure three times with the remaining flour
5. Pour batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spreading batter
evenly in pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air
6. Bake on lowest rack in oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until cake
springs back when lightly touched.
7. Invert tube pan; cool cake in the pan for 30 to 40 minutes.
8. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula;
remove cake from pan.


Splenda Hot Cocoa Mix

1 (9.6 ounce) box instant nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/4 cups Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, Granular
2/3 cup powdered non-dairy coffee creamer
2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well. Store in an
airtight container.

Combine 1/4 cup Hot Cocoa Mix with 3/4 cup boiling water for an
individual serving. Serve immediately.


Sugarless Cookies

Simmer 1 cup raisins with 1 cup water 15 minutes. Drain juice and
add enough water to measure 3/4 cup.

Cream 3/4 cup shortening and 2 eggs. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1
(6 ounce) can frozen sugarless apple juice thawed and diluted to
make 1 1/2 cups liquid. Beat well.

Sift together 3 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon
soda, 1 teaspoon cloves, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and pinch salt. Add
to egg mixture and beat well. Stir in raisins and the 3/4 cup
raisin liquid, 1/2 cup chopped nuts and 1 cup coconut. (A little
sugar twin may be added also.)

Drop rounded tablespoons on a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam. Bake
at 350 degrees, for 10-12 minutes. These freeze well.


Sugarless Peanut Butter Cookies

1/4 c. diet butter
8 pkg. Sweet n Low
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 egg
1/3 c. milk
Vanilla extract to taste
1/4 c. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

Cream butter, sweetener and peanut butter in bowl. Mix in egg, milk
and vanilla. Sift in flour, salt and baking powder; mixing well.
Drop by spoonfuls on foil lined baking sheet. Flatten with form.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes; cool on wire rack. Yields: 3


Sugarless Apple Cookies

3/4 cup Chopped dates
1/2 cup Finely chopped peeled
1/2 cup Raisins
1/2 cup Water
1 cup Plus 1 tablespoon
All-purpose flour
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt, optional
2 Eggs
1 tsp Liquid sweetener

In a large saucepan, combine dates, apples, raisins and water. Bring
to a boil; simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; cool. Combine
flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt if desired. Stir into apple
mixture and mix well. Combine eggs and sweetener; add to batter.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a nonstick baking sheet. Bake at 350 for
10-12 minutes.

Yield: 2 dozen.

Diabetic Exchanges: One serving (prepared without added salt) equals
1/2 starch, 1/2 fruit; also 54 calories, 24 mg sodium, 18 mg
cholesterol, 11 gm carbohydrate, 1 gm protein, 1 gm fat.


Almond Chicken
Serves 4

4 chicken breast halves skinned, boned
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon crumbled
3/4 cup sliced almonds finely minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt to taste
Freshly-ground white pepper to taste
Blanched almond flour for dredging
Lemon wedges for serving

Place chicken breast halves between two sheets of plastic wrap and
lightly pound to an even 1/2-inch thickness. In a shallow bowl,
beat the egg and add the tarragon; season with salt and pepper. On
a plate, combine the minced almonds and Parmesan cheese.

Heat oil and butter in a skillet large enough to hold chicken
pieces without them touching each other. Dust the chicken breasts
with almond flour and dip in egg and then in almond/cheese mixture
to coat completely. Immediately transfer them to the skillet and
sauté until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. (To make
sure that the chicken is cooked right through, cut into a piece. It
should be pearly white, not pink in the middle.) Transfer to heated
plates, season lightly with salt and pepper, garnish with lemon

This recipe yields 4 servings; 2.5 carb grams per serving.


Creamed Mushrooms with Cheese

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound firm white mushrooms thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons freshly-grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Additional Parmesan Cheese if desired

Melt butter in a skillet. Add oil. (This helps prevent butter from
burning.) Alternatively, you can use Plugrá -- a more heat stable
butter. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes. Add sherry
and cook 1 minute more.

Mix together sour cream, grated cheese, salt, and pepper and add to
mushrooms. Cook over low flame until sour cream has warmed
thoroughly (do not boil). Add additional grated cheese if desired.
Serve while warm.

This recipe yields 4 servings; 5 carb grams per serving.


Pork Roll-Ups

8 pork cutlets = (or boneless chops pounded thin)
8 breakfast sausage links = (Jimmy Dean, Bob Evans, etc.)
1 egg beaten with
1/2 cup water
1 cup crushed pork rinds
8 ounces low-carb (no sugar added) tomato sauce
1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheese = (Cheddar, Mozzarella, Swiss)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Sauté sausage until lightly browned. Place one sausage link on each
pork cutlet and roll up, tucking in ends of pork to make a pouch.
Hold together with a toothpick. Dip in egg and roll in crushed pork

Chill thoroughly –– at least an hour (this keeps them together, so
don't skip this step).

Arrange in baking dish, cover with sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake 1 hour at 325 degrees until done. (These can also be wrapped
in foil and grilled, turning once.) Remove toothpicks before

This recipe yields 8 servings; 2 grams of carbohydrate per serving.


Zucchini Soup

2 tablespoon chopped onion
2 tablespoon butter
1 cup boiling water
1 chicken bouillon cube
4 cups chopped zucchini
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Saute onion and butter in saucepan. Add water, bouillon, zucchini,
garlic powder and salt; mix well. Cook until zucchini is tender.
Combine with parsley in blender; process until smooth.

This recipe yields 4 servings; 2 carb grams per serving.

So until our next newsletter – stay strong! The holidays may be
fast approaching, but they will also be over soon!

Happy Holidays!!


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