With all the tasty goodies that seem to make their way into your homes and offices around the holidays, many of us worry about how to indulge without packing on the pounds. Since total deprivation isn’t fun — or realistic — how can you have your cake and eat it too? A good start is to take a look at your regular eating habits and food preferences to see where you can cut the calories you don’t care about to make room for the tasty calories you enjoy!
Lighten up your latte: Many of us need to hit the java before we face the day, but even a small drink from a coffee shop can hide many calories from cream and flavored syrups. A small café mocha, no whipped cream, can still have about 200 calories. If you can’t drink coffee without all the add-ons, consider switching to tea. A cup or two of black tea will give you the caffeine boost, but you probably won’t need to load it up as much to enjoy it.
Skip the side: If you’re eating lunch out of the home every day, you’re well aware of how fast food tends to be priced: getting a combo is much cheaper than the sum of its parts. Although this might seem like a good deal, you’re adding hundreds of empty calories to a burger or sandwich that, for most of us, is plenty of food on its own. Compromise by skipping the side, or just get the combo and split the whole thing with a co-worker.
Snack smart: The best snack strategy is to plan ahead. Always having a little something in your purse, desk or fridge at work is a great way to make sure your snacks are actually “snacks” and not the calorie equivalent of a meal from the vending machine. Individual packets of oatmeal, a few Mini Babybel cheese rounds in the fridge with an apple, and low-sodium high-fiber soups like lentil and vegetable are quick and easy ways to keep healthy snacks on track!
Veg out: Whether you’re cooking at home or ordering in, figuring out ways to add some extra vegetables to your meal is a great way to fill up without filling out. Having pasta? Try tossing in some zucchini or squash ribbons (just run a vegetable peeler through your family’s favorite) to pump up your pasta. If you’re a no-cook chef, there are so many microwavable veggie options at your disposal. On the go? Serve up Chinese takeout with some frozen stir-fry vegetables, or go for pizza slices with a side of nuked sweet potato.
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