25 Ways to Eat Light This Holiday Season ...

There's no doubt about it- we all love to eat! And especially sweets! This time of year is even more tempting, with all the sugary treats, yummy breads and delicious cookies to nibble on, it's no wonder we all walk away with a thicker waistline! But, it doesn't HAVE to be that way. yes of course I'm serious! And no you don't have to give it all up and eat celery until the new year. Here are 25 ways you can eat light this holiday season and still enjoy your food without wearing it!

1. Be a Smart Cookie

I know, I know, it's so tempting to want a taste of every single treat on the goodie table. But you have to decide, do you want to eat it all and regret it later or eat a little and not? Focus on one or two sweets that you can't get any other time of the year, and leave the rest for the others. Gingerbread men or christmas cookies are good examples.

2. Pie Solution

That buttery pie crust contains at least two tablespoons of butter per slice. I know it tastes good, but here's how to have your pie and eat it too. Eat only half of the crust to slash your calories in half. Ot if you want the whole crust, eat it, but leave the whipped cream off. If you opt to leave all of the crust on your plate, then add a tablespoon of whipped cream. You will still get your sweet tooth fulfilled, but for half of the calories!

3. The Slice is Right

Did you know that pumpkin, lemon meringue, and sweet potato pie all have less calories than a slice of apple, mince, or pecan? They sure do! And when you choose a piece of pie, keep an eye on the size. For a 9-inch pie, the thickest part should be no more than 3 and a half inches wide. It's more than enough to satisfy you and fill you up without added calories and fat!

4. Finish with Fruit

Here's some news that will brighten up your table! Finishing your meal with fruit instead of sweets can satisfy your craving and fill you up for practically nothing! Fruit is lighter than other desserts, and it feels unique and special! Have some fruit salad with mango, pineapple, and papaya or a few chocolate dipped strawberries and you'll see for yourself!

5. Ban the Canned Cranberries

Although using canned cranberries is a convenient shortcut, one can is loaded down with more sugar than a can of soda! Homemade relish is much, much healthier. And super easy to prepare! To whip up a batch, simmer two cups of fresh cranberries with a half a cup each of honey, and water or orange juice until mixture is thick. Cover and chill until set! Yup. You're all ready now!

6. Dress Lighter

Don't feel the need to use an entire stick of butter in your stuffing! Use chicken broth in place of water. Your dressing will still be light and fluffy and moist, but without all the calories. Add herbs such as rosemary and sage for an added punch of flavor. Then, bake your stuffing in a separate dish. Fill the cavity inside the turkey with lemons and oranges to infuse extra flavor!

7. Reduce Fat

Here's a surefire way to save on calories and fat intake: cook with as many fat-free items that you can! Fat-free evaporated milk, sour-creams, whipped creams, or anything else you can substitute. You can't tell the difference in baked goods but you sure can tell the difference on your waistline!

8. Cook with Yogurt

Sound strange? Substituting yogurt in any recipe that calls for sour cream will slash your calories by about 345 per cup! Plus you add a healthy dose of calcium! Be sure and use the plain yogurt, you don't want strawberry flavored mashed potatoes!

9. Break Tradition

Here's one you never thought of: instead of baking a holiday ham, what about roasting a pork tenderloin? You would be surprised by the whopping 150 calories and 13 grams of fat you save per 3 oz serving! Try it and love it!

10. Bean News

We all love green bean casseroles. All that gooey, creamy, thick cheese and those crispy fried onions on top is enough to make you eat your weight in that stuff! But it's much better to infuse the beans with flavor, not fat. Saute them in some olive oil, tarragon and parsley. They will be just as savory, minus the fat!

11. Good Gravy

Here's a recipe for some good-for-you gravy that won't go straight to your hips! Saute mushrooms, garlic and shallots in canola oil, then add a pinch of flour, salt and pepper, and low-fat chicken broth. Stick it all in a blender and pulse until creamy and you're good to go!

12. Skin save

When choosing your turkey, feel free to pile on light meat. But leave the dark! it has 45 calories more than light meat. And if you really, really want it, go ahead and have it- but leave behind the skin to save 40 calories and 5 grams of fat. What about that!

13. Start with Soup

Before you indulge in your christmas feast, have yourself a little bowl of soup! It will help fill you up so you won't eat everything in sight. And soup is a much lighter appetizer than rolls or sausage balls. Salad or a glass of water do the same trick for you if soup is unavailable.

14. Say Cheese

....that is, LIGHT cheese! Soft goat, feta, and part-skim mozzarella contain about 76 calories and 6 grams of fat less per ounce than other cheeses such as cheddar, brie and blue cheese. Now that's nifty to know!

15. Wining and Dining

Did you know that alcohol can increase your appetite? It's best to wait until you're seated to start sipping. If you're craving a cocktail, opt for a club soda in place of tonic water and save 80 calories. It's also handy to know that wine and champagne are lower in calories than mixed drinks.

16. Nix the Nog

Eggnog has 343 calories and and 19 grams of fat per cup! Why not try having hot chocolate in it's place this year? If you can't imagine skipping the eggnog, try a low-fat version such as Silk Nog. Or a boiled custard with milk mixed into it which is just as tasty, only a bit lighter.

17. Watch the Clock

No need to spend all morning prepping an elaborate dish of vegetables in butter, sugary glazes and cream sauces! Roasting is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to prepare a side dish! Toss any veggie in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper then bake at 375 degrees F for 20-40 minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs as desired!

18. Come Bearing Gifts

If you don't know what your Mother-in-law has on the menu, it's best to bring something healthy. Then you'll at least have something you know is low in calories and fat to munch on! A vegetable or fruit tray is a good idea for starters.

19. Carry a Clutch

If you have something in your hand, it will be harder to munch around on cookies before and after dinner. Your other hand will most likely have a drink, so your hands will be full and it will be harder to reach for that cheese ball that's beckoning you!

20. Follow Your Nose

Before you dive into any food, pause and take a moment to enjoy the aroma. Smelling foods can trigger the sensation of fullness. The scent can heighten the flavor, so you may feel satisfied sooner. Plus, it will give you a chance to gauge just how hungry you really are so you run a smaller risk of over-eating!

21. Don't Linger

Near the buffet that is! Studies have shown that those who stand closer to the food while chatting are more tempted to grab at the brownies and chips. It's easier to eat without realizing it when your mind is occupied with something else, say catching up with old friends. Make sure you don't hang around the kitchen in order to preserve your waistline!

22. Go Ahead, Spoil Your Appetite

We are warned against it when we are kids, but the right pre-dinner snack can take the edge right off your hunger! Avoid fried items such as egg rolls. Instead, opt for shrimp cocktail, chicken satay, and mozzarella and veggie skewers. Healthy, but satisfying choices!

23. Set the Mood

With music of course! It's OK to play loud tunes during the part, but when you're ready to sit down for dinner, put on some soft classical carols or quiet music. Research has proven that loud background music causes us to consume more food as opposed to eating in a peaceful environment!

24. Check out Your Options

Before you start loading down your plate with goodies, do a once-over of the buffet so you can see everything you have to choose from. You may be more likely to skip the shrimp salad if you see the Crab Rangoon's on the other end of the table! It's all about compensation!

25. Dip Delights

Creamy dips like crab, artichoke and blue cheese can pack in 100 calories per scoop! Instead, reach for some hummus, salsa or artichoke dip. You'll still fill that craving, but in a more satisfying, healthy way and with half of the calories!

It's good to know that we can indulge and enjoy our holiday buffet without breaking our New Year's resolution to lose weight before we've even made it! I hope these tips help you to keep the pounds at bay this holiday season! A very merry christmas to you and yours!

Top Photo Credit: fujiapple