Holiday Temptation, Healthy Solutions

by Rona Berg

It's easy to be tempted by sweet treats over the holidays. Before you know it, you've packed on the pounds.

We spoke with Mountain Trek's health and fitness nutritionist, Jennifer Kierstead, who shared some great tips on how to avoid temptation, along with clever ideas for swapping in healthier alternatives. Mountain Trek's hiking-based weightloss retreat offers a rigorous cardio-fitness regimen, along with calorie-tailored cuisine, daily.

Here are Kierstead's tips on how to handle holiday parties, high-calorie baking, and sidestep the battle of the bulge.

  1. Holiday baking can be high calorie. Try swapping out the empty calorie ingredients for more wholesome options: Swap out the processed white sugar , and try add ing honey, mashed ripe banana or apple sauce for sweetness ; Use high-fiber, unrefined flours like oat, brown rice, millet, or spelt vs. highly refined white flour.

  2. Processed veggie oils in recipes can be very damaging to our cardiovascular health. Swap out the canola and corn oils, for virgin olive or coconut oil. They not only have a richer flavor, but they're heart healthy, and give a great energy boost.

  3. When bouncing from holiday party to holiday party, bring your own healthy dish. It’s important to bring something healthy that you know you'll enjoy – this not only gives you an option, but it encourages others to try healthier holiday dishes as well.

  4. Stay social. Food is such a big focus during the holidays, try and put more of an emphasis on the social aspect of the holidays. Engage in conversation, or dancing – make it more about connecting with friends and family and having fun.

  5. The Yoga of Eating: Slow down and take time to chew your food, as your stomach doesn't have teeth. We need to use our teeth to chew our food into a paste, and to mix with the digestive enzymes in our saliva. When we slow down our eating, this give our brain and stomach the chance to register feelings of fullness. This helps us avoid overeating, which happens after about 20 minutes.

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