Happy December All! 

The Holidays are here and it’s time to spread some merry and cheer! This is truly the most wonderful time of year! Holiday music is being played everywhere, and people just seem to have added joyfulness about them.  
So many times, the holiday season can bring upon excessive indulgences and temptations, and we can fall off track all with the caveat that we will start back up in January with a new year resolution. It’s so easy to let healthy eating fly out the window. Believe me, I know the struggle is real.  

So in this blog, I will share ideas that will allow for holiday jollity around food, and a few of my secrets to help you maintain your healthy eating plan and state of wellness without doing too much sacrificing.  
Just a friendly reminder, once again, it is not always about weight, but how you feel and those other measures of your health status. So don’t be too hard on yourself. 
I promise this won’t be as hard as you think. It just takes a bit of good ol’ will power!

Tips for Healthier Baking

Sliced, toasted or dunked into coffee, sweet treats like cookies, cakes and sweet breads are typically the first to disappear—but often leave behind extra pounds and other not-so-sweet effects.
Lighten up your baking with these tips to help you reduce fat and sugar, and add fibre to your favourite treats.

  1. Make them more heart healthy.
    Swap out some of your butter, margarine or shortening for heart-healthy oils, such as canola oil. For every tablespoon of butter you replace with heart-healthy oil, you eliminate at least 5 grams of saturated fat from your baked goods.

  2. Replace unhealthy fats.
    Consider replacing some of the butter with non-traditional baking ingredients, such as non-fat plain yogurt, non-fat buttermilk or even fruit or vegetable purée.  Adding a liquid ingredient helps to keep baked goods satisfyingly moist, even with a reduced overall fat content. Try replacing up to 4 tablespoons of butter with an equal amount of a liquid ingredient.

  3. Add fibre to your baked goods.
    Replacing some (or all) of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat pastry flour and/or oats and adding ground flaxseed is an easy way to help you get the recommended daily value of 25 grams of fibre (most of us fall short of that goal). For treats with a more delicate texture, try using half all-purpose flour and half of the more finely milled whole-wheat pastry flour or mild flavoured white whole-wheat flour. You’ll still get the added benefit of extra fibre, but without much wheaty flavour.

  4. Keep sodium in check.
    Some baked goods can be surprisingly high in sodium. Aim for no more than ½ teaspoon salt per batch of cookies.

  5. Eliminate trans-fat and other artificial ingredients.
    Steer clear of ingredients that contain partially hydrogenated oil (or trans fats), such as margarine and most vegetable shortenings. Consider swapping out other artificial ingredients, such as artificial food dyes in frosting, for a drizzle of dark chocolate or a sprinkle of finely chopped nuts.

  6. Don’t forget to reduce the sugar in recipes.
    So many recipes have excessive sugar amounts. Most of the time you won’t even notice when you cut back on the sugar.

Simple substitutions to save calories/Easy ways to cut calories

1. Silk Nog:
Did you know that egg nog has about 200 calories in HALF A CUP? That’s right, half a cup. Not even 1 cup! If creamy eggnog is your holiday drink of choice, then you’ll want to try a healthier nog option, such as Silk Nog. It’s just as rich and creamy as traditional eggnog. Alternatively, you can get eggnog flavoured coffee creamer.  This will satisfy your taste craving without all the extra calories.

2. Peppermint tea:
Rather than sucking on candy canes, have peppermint tea. Peppermint tea has that same great peppermint flavour for zero calories and no added sugars.

3. Ginger snaps:
Are gingerbread cookies one of your “must haves” during the holiday season? If so, you may want to try swapping traditional gingerbread cookies for ginger snaps. Did you know there are 200 calories and 10 grams of fat, 5 of which are saturated in the average gingerbread cookie?

4. Cupcakes:
Instead of eating a piece of cake, which can vary greatly in size depending on who the cake cutter is, turn your favourite cake into cupcakes, this will keep the portions easier to control. Make sure you only eat one or this trick won’t work.

5. Greek yogurt:
Instead of sour cream, cream cheese, Mayo, basically any other form of white fat, use plain fat free Greek yogurt. See the table below for simple conversions.

OriginalGreek Yogurt
1 cup butter1/4 cup yogurt + 1/2 cup butter
1 cup oil3/4 cup yogurt
1 cup sour cream 1 cup yogurt
1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup yogurt
1 cup cream cheese 1 cup yogurt
1 cup buttermilk 2/3 cup yogurt + 1/3 cup milk or buttermilk
1 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk1/4 cup yogurt + 3/4 cup milk
1 cup crème fraîche1 cup yogurt
Source: Chobani

Pro Tip: when adding Greek yogurt to hot soups or sauce, add it at the end of the cooking process and remove the pan from heat.

6. Avocado:
Instead of cheese try avocado slices. Avocados are creamy, just like cheese, but without the saturated fat, and they even have heart healthy fats.

7. Crustless pies:
Try crustless pies. They’re super yummy and I’m totally making this for my family! 

8. Drinks:
Don’t forget about liquid calories! Sip on water or calorie free beverages. Sometimes being dehydrated can make you feel hungry; don’t drink your calories, save them for eating or try fruit or vegetable infused water. I’ll soon share some amazing holiday drink recipes you can try out!

How to survive the holiday party!

  • Consider keeping a food journal as this can keep you more aware and conscious of how you are eating.
  • Don’t skip meals- this will only slow down your metabolism and cause you to indulge excessively in the food provided at the next eating opportunity. 
  • Drink water before eating. This will curb your hunger and promote the consuming of proper portions. Remember what a properly portioned plate looks like:


  • Keep the Hunger Scale in mind- Most people enjoy their food and eat comfortably when they are between 3-6 on the scale. Remember we are eating so we are no longer hungry and feeling satisfied, not necessarily “full.”
  • Start out with a salad and other vegetables and fruit before eating the other foods. This will help to curb your hunger, resulting in you eating less of the other not so healthy items. Make sure to get some protein as well; this will keep you fuller for longer too. 
  • When eating your favourite indulgences, remember to chew your food. Enjoy it and make it last. There is no race; remember it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it is full. Most people finish eating in much less time, hence the great risk of overeating. 
  • Make sure you are getting enough fibre, protein and the right types of fat to keep you full instead of just consuming all refined carbs.
  • Don’t forget it is not all about fat and calories, it is also about sodium. Many of our favourite holiday foods are weighed down with umpteen amounts of sodium. Is your face puffy? Do you feel your pants fitting tighter? If so, it could be that you’re gaining weight or you’ve had too much sodium the day before.
  • Don’t sit anywhere near the buffet table where you may be enticed to grab a treat, or 2 or 10!
  • Chew gum, this will keep your mouth busy instead of wanting to eat more just because it’s there.

Now to wrap it up (pun intended 😉)

Here is your friendly reminder once again that you shouldn’t be focused on losing weight during the holidays. Instead, try to maintain your current weight. Plan a time for physical activity- maybe it’s taking a family walk, playing football outside, or even playing games indoors. 
Remember that your health is number one and extra calories means extra weight and extra weight can and may lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease. So be good to yourself and love you. 

Happy Holidays to you, your family and friends this season! I hope you are able to use these tips to ensure a great holiday full of fruits and vegetables 😋


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