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Hosting and Being a Guest During the Holidays

 The Holidays can be a stressful period for some of you who want to lose weight, maintain your good eating habits, and stay active. It is also true that if you are the host, having control over the nutrition part will be easier than if you are a guest! So here are some potential solutions to maintain your good habits, regardless of the situation.

You are the host?

Starters: Fix them some melon wrapped in proscuitto or smoked salmon, bite-sized pieces of bread with bruschetta, or pepper-flavoured crackers garnished with goat/blue cheese and one or two pear slices.

Main dish: Make sure to offer salad to your guests, some cooked vegetables, or vegetable pottage soup to include vitamins and color in your menu! For your meat pies, choose lean meats in order to limit the caloric intake! If you opt for the traditional turkey this year, serve with yams and green beans to make your main dish healthy! Instead of using mayonnaise or sour cream for your dips, use plain yogurt or light sour cream! Instead of using one whole egg, use two egg whites!

Dessert: Are you the chocolate type? In your dessert recipes, replace 30 g (1 oz) of semi-sweet chocolate with 3 tablespoons of cocoa and 2 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil. For each cup of fat, substitute half the quantity for apple compote or 1 pureed banana. Make sure to add fruits to your dessert for a touch of freshness!

You are a guest?

Balance your day: If a large supper is planned, breakfast with fruits, yogurt, and 1 hard-boiled egg. Make vegetables your priority (without forgetting about proteins and some grain products). But most of all, don’t skip meals, or you will be starving and devour everything you see! Also, make an effort to increase your caloric expenditure by performing a physical activity that you enjoy (gym, walking, snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding…) during the day.

Have a snack!!  Before leaving for supper, have a healthy snack. You will be less hungry once you get there, and will therefore avoid falling into excesses, both good and bad!

Make your own servings, if possible. This way, you will be able to balance your plate and decide the quantities. Remember that you don’t have to eat everything! This will allow you to keep some space for a piece of the famous Yule log, if you wish to have some!

Know how to say no!  Someone is insisting that you have a second serving or two desserts? You only want one glass of wine during your meal? Keep your ground, and remember how important it is to make these choices for yourself first. If necessary, avoid offending your family and friend by explaining why you are acting this way. “It was very good, but…”

Take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy dishes you get to eat only once a year, and savor them! Treat yourself if you love your mom’s Yule log, your grandmother’s bread spreads, or commercial eggnog. However, be wise in your quantities, and avoid chips, chocolate, and buttered bread, all of which you can enjoy all year long!

And you, what are your tactics to maintain your healthy weight during the Holidays?

by Caroline Proulx, Dt. P.

Caroline Proulx

Holder of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from McGill University, and member of the Ordre Professionnel des Diététistes du Québec, Caroline has been working as a nutritionist for Nautilus Plus since January 2013. A seasoned marathon runner with a passion for cooking, she also animates conferences and motivation groups about nutrition! “As I have not always been a keen athlete, I am very proud of having completed a marathon, and also of preparing the next ones! For me, nutrition is not only the key to optimal performance, but also a medicine in itself. Therefore, my objective is to encourage people to change their habits if they need to and motivate them to never give up, but first and foremost, make them realize that eating healthy is a pleasure that we are lucky to enjoy three times a day!”

Hosting and Being a Guest During the Holidays is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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