Enjoy the holidays without expanding your waist

DALLAS – Dec. 7, 2018 – Visions of sugarplums may dance in your head throughout the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean they should be a staple on your plate at every gathering. 

Dr. Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern School of Health Professions, says the age-old advice of moderation still rings true. 

“Choose only the foods you really want to eat and enjoy a reasonable portion,” Dr. Sandon says. “You can also prevent unconscious nibbling by socializing away from the kitchen or buffet tables.”

Dr. Sandon suggests eating a small, low-fat snack with protein such as popcorn or a piece of fruit with a piece of string cheese before you head out the door for a gathering to keep you from immediately rushing the buffet table. Another tip, she says, is to enjoy an initial helping of fresh leafy salad and veggies to fill you up before digging into higher calorie foods so you can enjoy a second helping without needing to unbuckle your belt.

Dr. Lona Sandon

Dr. Sandon also offers a few “substitution” tips for cutting calories in the kitchen and eating sensibly:

  • Broth for butter to sauté – 104 calories saved per tablespoon.
  • Low- or nonfat plain yogurt for a mayonnaise portion – use 1/3 cup of mayonnaise and 1/3 cup of low- or nonfat yogurt when recipes call for 2/3 cup of mayonnaise and 480 calories are eliminated.
  • Low- or nonfat milk for whole milk – 60 calories saved per cup in recipes.
  • Plain low- or nonfat yogurt for sour cream – 720 calories saved per cup.
  • Skinless chicken for whole pieces – 360 calories saved per whole bird.

Cooks also can experiment with sugar substitutes. In the baking section of the grocery store, you can find no-calorie sweeteners designed for baking at up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. You save about 45 calories for every tablespoon of sugar replaced with a sugar substitute.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 22 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The faculty of more than 2,700 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in about 80 specialties to more than 105,000 hospitalized patients, nearly 370,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 2.4 million outpatient visits a year.