Win the holiday season with the game of inches.

Win the holidays in a game of inches.

“You know, when you get old in life things get taken from you... I mean that’s…part of life.  But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches….The inches we need are everywhere around us….we fight for that inch….because we know when we add up all those inches that’s gonna make the ….difference between winning and losing!” - Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday

Holidays are known for having some of your favorite meals and treats, we know that statistically the holiday weight gain averages around 1 lb.  In the simplest terms a one pound weight gain means that you ate roughly 7000 calories more than you needed over this period of time. This is about an average of 35-40 days, which means that the amount you’re exceeding your expenditure by is roughly 170-200 calories per day on those days between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.  What exactly does that mean?  

  • An extra serving of pasta

  • A meal out vs home cooked

  • ½ slice of pie

  • 8 Hersey Kisses

  • 8 Werthers Originals

  • 6 marshmallows

  • 15 chips

  • 1 Krispy Kreme Glazed  Donut

  • 1 cup of Caramel Popcorn

  • 16 ounce soda

  • ½ of a blueberry muffin

  • 3 Chips Ahoy Cookies

  • 2 ounces of Baileys Irish Cream

  • 6 ounces Red Wine

  • 1 Double Gin and Tonic

Pretty shocking that these small daily indulgences above what you are normally consuming during the year is what adds to that extra pound heading into the next year.   I think just like Al Pacino says, the biggest wins come in inches. It’s the little things that you adopt that add up to a significant impact. So what can you do about it?

Think strategically about the ingredients in your holiday recipes/meals.  

  1. Where can you cut some excess and more than likely unnecessary calories? 

    1. Does the recipe really need a full cup of sugar (773 calories) or could you cut the sugar to ⅔ of a cup and drop the total calories by 262 calories?

    2. Does it really need to be regular sour cream or can it be light and ⅓ fewer calories? 

    3. If you switch brands of certain ingredients can you get less added sugar or less saturated fat?

  2. Where can you substitute a healthier ingredient for something less healthy?

    1. Can you use Old fashioned oats instead of instant to add some more fiber (which is helpful not only for it’s impact on sugar but also cholesterol!)

    2. Apple sauce can sometimes replace canola oil and reduce the fat in a baking recipe

    3. Whipped potatoes with ⅔ Potatoes and ⅓ riced cauliflower? 

    4. Can you substitute a portion of enriched white flour for some whole grain flour?

    5. Can you use a truvia baking blend instead of regular sugar?

    6. Can you use a healthier fat like olive oil (we bake with olive and avocado oil all the time, you can’t taste it!) 

  3. Can you reduce the quantity?

    1. If the recipes you are making tend to have leftovers that are too tempting to pass up, can you cut the recipe in ½ so there are no leftovers?

    2. Do you need all of the side dishes?  This year we cut back on our sides significantly for Thanksgiving or replaced the normal sides with vegetable options, there were no complaints at our house!

    3. If you are eating out, can you order an appetizer size plate instead of the full dish?

    4. Can you split a main course with someone else? (We love this strategy when eating out, we get a salad or appetizer then split a main course and it’s the perfect amount of food!)

    5. Can you put out smaller dishes?  Research shows that we instinctively don’t like to have a lot of open space on a plate (we prefer a plate that’s 70% full). So if we only have an option for a smaller plate, then we naturally eat less! 

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