WEDNESDAY, Nov. 22, 2017 (HealthDay News) — For many Americans, Thanksgiving kicks off a season of high-calorie eating. The trick this time of year is to enjoy the goodies without packing on extra pounds.
It's important to eat in moderation rather than denying yourself any goodies, said food expert Shreela Sharma.
If you try to ignore a craving, it only gets worse, explained Sharma, a faculty member with the School of Public Health at University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston.
"Denying ourselves food groups never works," Sharma said in a university news release. "Food is not the enemy — it's such an important part of who we are and our social lives. It's portioning that's the big trick."
If you eat in moderation, you don't need to feel guilty about having anything, from an appetizer to a dessert.
Sharma also offered tips for preparing healthier holiday fare:
- When making desserts, substitute whole-wheat flour for regular flour in a recipe, or you can use 1/2 regular and 1/2 whole-wheat if you don't want to make a full switch.
- Substitute bananas and applesauce for fat. And use natural sweeteners such as shredded carrots, zucchini or beets to cut down on sugar.
- Make small desserts such as mini-cheesecakes or mini-cupcakes to help with portion control.
- Always have some berries as a side with your dessert. They're naturally filling and will reduce the amount of sweets you eat.
- Eat before you go to a party so you don't arrive with an empty stomach. A slice of whole-grain toast with almond or peanut butter is a good choice.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips for a healthy holiday season.