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Your Health Blog

    Planning & Goal-Setting to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

    Deborah Pfeiffer, MS, RD Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions 11/28/2017

    The holiday season is here!   What comes to mind when you think of the holidays?

    1. Family & friends
    2. Celebrations
    3. Gifts
    4. Colorful lights
    5. Special music
    6. Food


    This time of the year brings up all sorts of thoughts and emotions, and when your goal is weight loss, this can be a difficult time—high-calorie, great-tasting food seems to be everywhere!  There are parties, family gatherings, special carry-ins at work, and gifts of food. Because you are focused on healthier eating, it may seem you can’t escape from high calorie holiday reminders.

    What do you do? Don’t give up. With proper planning, you can succeed!  Does this mean you will not be able to enjoy some of your favorite foods? The answer is NO. Let’s look at some tips that can help you navigate through the weeks ahead.

    Plan ahead for meals & snacks to have the appropriate foods available when you need them. When you don’t plan ahead, you’re left with foods that may not be the best choices.
    Goal:  Take some time to plan for the week ahead by looking at schedules and meals to prepare for home and work to have the foods you need, when you need them. Don’t forget the snacks!

    Don’t skip a meal(s) to eat more at the “big” meal.  This can lead to increased hunger and decreased resolve to forget the “game plan” and often leads to eating too much.
    Goal:  To eat 3 meals daily and a planned snack(s) as needed. A small snack prior to going to the party/meal may help you to maintain control.

    Strategize for the buffet or sit-down meal.  It’s OK to enjoy a few “favorites.”
    Goal:  Fill the plate with more healthy food items such as vegetables, fruit, and poultry without the skin.  Make it a point to see a bit of plate between the foods.  Skip the second helpings!  Enjoy a small piece of your favorite dessert if this is one of your strategies for success.  Learn to leave the table or party feeling comfortably full vs. “stuffed” full.

    Keep the beverages sugar-free.  Biggest way to add calories to your daily intake is by drinking them.
    Goal:  Drink more water and other sugar-free beverages. If enjoying alcohol, do so in moderation and extend the adult beverage by spritzing your drink by adding seltzer or a diet soda.

    Count your blessings when at family meals/holiday gatherings.
    Goal:  Enjoy family and friends and make them your focus versus the food.

    Modify recipes by switching to reduced-fat/fat-free ingredients or using a sugar-substitute or sugar blend.  These substitutions can change the calorie content without sacrificing flavor!
    Goal:  See below for “Sugar Substitutes/Sugar Blends” and “Modifying Recipes” information. Modify 1 – 2 ingredients in some of your recipes.

    Be sure to include regular activity in your routine.  Exercise/activity can increase your energy and help burn calories!  Exercise can also help you better manage stress.
    Goal:  Start a new holiday tradition such as taking a walk with your family.

    Be kind to yourself.  You may decide your goal through this season may be to maintain vs. lose weight.
    Goal:  Revise your goals as needed to make this holiday season a well-planned, enjoyable time!

    Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions wishes you a healthy and happy holiday season.


    Recipe Substitutions
    When a recipe calls for… Use instead…

    • Sour Cream Light or nonfat sour cream  OR Fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
    • Mayonnaise Light - Fat-free mayonnaise
    • Cream Cheese - Light cream cheese, Neufchatel Cheese (1/3 less fat)  or Greek Crème
    • Whole milk - Fat free milk or 1% milk
    • Half & Half - Fat Free Half & Half
    • Evaporated milk - Evaporated skim milk
    • Ricotta Cheese Part-skim or nonfat ricotta
    • Cottage cheese 1% - nonfat cottage cheese
    • Cheese, such as Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Provolone - Reduced fat or light cheese
    • Sausage or ground beef 90% or leaner ground beef, ground white meat turkey or chicken breast (cooked & drained)
    • 2 pie crusts - 1 pie crust or Graham cracker crust
    • Chocolate chips, 1 cup 1 cup raisins, dried cranberries   OR
    • ½ cup mini chocolate chips          

     

    Sugar Substitutes & Sugar Blends
    Role of Sugar in Baking:

    • Structure, texture & volume
    • Enhances caramelization & browning
    • Helps retain moistness & tenderness in baked goods
    • Can act as a preservative, keeping baked goods fresh


    There are now a variety of sugar substitutes available for purchase to replace added sugars as a tabletop sweetener or to be used in cooking and baking.  Many product lines may be purchased in different forms such as packets or spoonable form.  Some products are created to measure cup for cup as sugar when replacing sugar in recipes.  Some products are a blend of sugar and a sugar substitute providing baking qualities of sugar with fewer calories.
     
    For example, Splenda Granular measures cup for cup replacing sugar: 

    • 1 cup sugar = 1 cup Splenda Granular. 
    • Splenda Sugar/Brown Sugar Blend converts to 1 cup sugar/brown sugar = ½ cup Splenda Sugar Blend.

     
    Companies of each product have developed recipes for the specific sugar substitute, tips for using the products in cooking/baking and conversion charts.  You can register for newsletters, coupons & free samples for many products.
     

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