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How To Not Gain Weight This Holiday Season

 Dr. Meghan Duffie is a board certified family physician at Hawks Prairie Family Medicine. She is currently accepting patients. Call (360) 413-4200 to schedule an appointment today.

To Your Health newsletter offered by Providence Health & Services in Southwest, WA.The holiday season is filled with numerous occasions to overeat. Heavy dips, cheese platters, pies, cookies, butter balls…I’ve seen them all.

The holiday season, of course, is not a time to carry around your calorie counter. If you love pecan pie and eat it only once a year, this is the time to treat yourself. But, if you’re like most of us, the holiday goes from a few days day to a few months of celebrating and overeating. This season, consider working healthy options into your holiday foods. Everyone benefits, which makes room for a few splurges here and there.

How do you Dress Your Turkey?

Unless you deep fry it, turkey is low calorie, low fat, high protein –a good source of B vitamins, zinc, potassium, iron and phosphorus. White meat is best; the dark meat of the wing or leg is much higher in both fat and calories. Take off the skin and you save 33 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving. Remember, your turkey should be cooked to at least 180°.

Maybe more important is what you put on and in your turkey. Dressing stuffed in the bird soaks up all the drippings and, as a result has more calories and fat. You’re also at a higher risk for salmonella.

Gravy is an important part of any festive meal, but you can choose how generously you pour that rich sauce over your meat and potatoes.

Candied Yams or Baked Sweet Potatoes?

A baked sweet potato was ranked No. 1 for nutrition by the hard-to-please folks at Nutrition for Science in the Public Interest. It’s high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Yams potatoes are plenty sweet on their own, with naturally occurring sugars, but, for some reason, we sweeten them even more with corn syrup and marshmallows. Consider dialing back on the additions to your potatoes and savor the real flavor of the season.

Pecan Pie or Pumpkin?

Pecan pie is one of the richest desserts you can find-butter, sugar, corn syrup, eggs, pecans and a dollop of whipped cream. A medium sized slice is right at 575 calories (and that doesn’t count the whipped cream). Pumpkin averages out at right around 375 calories.

Artichoke Dip or Hummus and Pita?

Any appetizer containing artichokes or spinach shouts “good health”. But, add up the mayonnaise, cream cheese, sour cream and parmesan that go into it and you get a dip that’s high in calories and saturated fat. Hummus is also high in fat, but it’s monounsaturated olive oil which has health benefits for the heart. And the dip is made primarily of chick peas, which, along with olive oil are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. The fiber in chick peas digests very slowly, preventing blood sugar from risking too rapidly. Chick peas (and hummus) are excellent sources of high quality protein, folate, manganese and molybdenum, an important trace mineral that helps the body de-toxify sulfates.