Healthy Holiday Eating Tips- Part 2

Menu Planning Tips: Modify your traditional holiday menus and recipes to reduce fat, cholesterol, and calories.

Original Menu
3 ½ ounces roast duck
½ cup stuffing
½ cup broccoli with hollandaise
½ cup jellied cranberry sauce
1 medium crescent roll
1 slice pecan pie
TOTAL FAT = 55 grams
Leaner Menu
3 ½ ounces roast turkey breast
½ cup rice pilaf
½ cup broccoli with lemon juice
½ cup fresh cranberry relish
1 fresh roll
1 slice pumpkin pie
TOTAL FAT = 21 gra

A typical holiday menu:

  • 3 ½ ounces roast duck
  • ½ cup stuffing
  • ½ cup broccoli with hollandaise sauce
  • ½ cup jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1 medium crescent roll
  • 1 slice pecan pie
  • TOTAL FAT = 55 grams

A leaner holiday menu:

  • 3 ½ ounces roast turkey breast
  • ½ cup rice pilaf
  • ½ cup broccoli with lemon juice
  • ½ cup fresh cranberry relish
  • 1 fresh roll
  • 1 slice pumpkin pie
  • TOTAL FAT = 21 grams

Remember to go easy on the following foods:

  • Nuts
  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Dips
  • Olives
  • Eggnog
  • Stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Fatty deli meats
  • Candy, cakes, pies, cookies
  • Alcohol

Celebration Strategies:

  • Be realistic. Trying to lose weight during the holidays may be a self-defeating goal. Striving to maintain your weight, however, is a reasonable expectation.
  • Forget the “all or nothing” mindset. Depriving yourself of special holiday foods or feeling guilty over a particular food choice are not part of a holiday eating strategy – and certainly not part of the holiday spirit!
  • Have fun! Sharing food is an important way to spread holiday cheer. Enjoying a traditional meal or celebrating with family and friends need not destroy the healthy food habits you have nurtured all year.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise every day to reduce stress and burn calories (try it before breakfast).
  • Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast.
  • Eat slowly – put your fork down between bites.
  • Chew gum while preparing food and cleaning up to curb tasting and snacking.
  • Keep a daily food/calorie diary – enter every taste and snack you take.
  • Resist the urge to bake as gifts, instead make jellies, barbecue sauces, etc.

Snacking During the Busy Holiday Season:

With all the preparations and celebrations, you might be too busy to eat regular meals. Take some time to learn how tasty, convenient snacks and appetizers can fill hunger gaps, contribute important nutrients, and add enjoyment to your holiday eating.

  • Try these portable snacks when you travel:
    • Make a trail mix of nuts, raisins, and pretzel chips
    • Tote some of your favorite ready-to-eat cereal in a plastic bag
    • Stow a couple of breadsticks and a crisp apple
    • Pack a handful of graham crackers and small can of fruit juice
    • Wrap up a mini-bagel spread with peanut butter
  • For home, try stocking up on these snacks:
    • Raw broccoli florets
    • Red and green pepper strips
    • Zucchini circles
    • Cucumber wedges
    • Carrot and celery sticks
    • Low-fat, low-sodium cheeses
    • Lean, low-sodium deli meats
    • Fruit
    • Yogurt
    • Juices
    • Assorted bread, crackers, graham crackers, pretzels, and breadsticks
    • Cook a large batch of chili and freeze individual portions, reheat as needed
  • Snack ideas for company
    • Top reduced-fat crackers with your favorite hors d’oeuvre combinations
    • Serve hummus with pita wedges
    • Make fruit kabobs with pineapple chunks, melon balls, and ripe strawberries
    • Arrange colorful vegetables on a platter with a tangy yogurt dip
    • Place bowls of homemade snack mix on convenient tables
    • Create a cheese board with some new lower-fat varieties and an assortment of crackers and breadsticks
  • For a sweet treat:
    • Slices of angel food cake drizzled with raspberry sauce
    • Non-fat and lower-fat cookies
    • Dried fruit and nuts arrangement
    • Serve small portions of special holiday sweets

Written by Julie Katz, Registered Dietitian- Baltimore, MD

How to Reduce Inflammation by Changing your Diet

Swelling and inflammation are problems that can lead to the pain you are feeling.  To help decrease inflammation, and therefore pain, it is important to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet. The Food Guide Pyramid can help you to make wise choices by including a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and eating sugar, sodium and fat in moderation. It is also important to choose more fresh foods and limit processed foods, as these have been known to lead to inflammation.


  • Choose whole grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole grain cereals.
  • Try to avoid processed or refined grains- meaning that they are white and the good parts (fiber and B-vitamins) have been removed.

Vegetables and Fruits:

  • All are good sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Make sure to get a variety of color to get all of the nutrients and aim for at least 5 servings daily.
  • Vitamin C
  • An antioxidant that fights inflammation
  • Supports healthy connective tissue
  • Involved in collagen formation
  • Sources: broccoli, melons, oranges, mango, sweet potato, spinach, collard and mustard greens, strawberries, red bell peppers, kiwi, pineapple, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes
    • Magnesium
    • Works with calcium to promote bone formation
    • Sources: seeds, nuts, legumes, unrefined cereal grains, dark green leafy vegetables
      • Antioxidants and Phytochemicals
      • Have anti-inflammatory properties
      • Choose berries and other brightly colored fruit and vegetables
        • Boron
        • Some studies have shown this trace mineral to help with osteoarthritis
        • Helps cartilage and bone to absorb calcium
        • Sources: apples, legumes, leafy vegetables, carrots, pears, grapes, grains, some drinking water

Fats and Oils:

  • Total fat 25-35% of calories
  • Choose healthy fats from unsaturated sources
    • Olive oil has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation – can be used in place of vegetable oil in baking
    • Focus on Omega-3 fatty acids
      • Powerful anti-inflammatory agent
      • Sources: cold water oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, herring, sardines, lake trout), walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, soybeans
      • Speak to your doctor if you are interested in adding fish oil for flax supplements
      • Limit saturated fat from animal sources to less than 7% of total calories
        • An 1800 calorie meal plan should have <60 grams total fat and <14 grams saturated fat


  • Choose low fat or fat free dairy products daily
    • Low fat calcium products have been found to promote wt loss
    • Calcium
      • Contributes to positive bone growth and maintenance of bone density
      • Sources: low fat/fat free milk, yogurt and cheese, fortified soy milk and orange juice, dark green leafy vegetables, canned sardines and salmon with bones
      • Vitamin D
        • Low levels of vitamin D can lead to more rapid progression of osteoarthritis
        • Sources: fish-liver oil, butter and cream, egg yolks, liver, fortified milk and dairy products, fortified cereals


  • Needed to build healthy tissues
  • Choose lean poultry, fish and seafood, nuts, legumes and seeds
  • Fatty red meat may trigger inflammation- choose lean cuts and limit
  • Soy proteins
    • May held reduce pain and inflammation
    • Sources: soybeans, soy nuts, tofu and soy milk
    • Try to limit processed soy foods
Foog Guide Pyramid
Food Guide Pyramid

Written by Julie Katz, Registered Dietitian- Baltimore, MD