• Tips for a guilt-free holiday

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    December 23, 2019

    WISCONSIN RAPIDS – While the holidays are a special time to be with loved ones, it’s also a time when we overindulge in big meals and sweet treats. But, with a little meal planning and mindfulness, it is possible to put out a guilt-free spread both you and your guests enjoy.

    Andrea Wagner, MS, RDN, CD, CLS, clinical nutrition supervisor for Aspirus Riverview Hospital & Clinics, offers these four tips:

    Avoid skipping meals
    Skipping breakfast and lunch to save room for the holiday spread is a no-no. Eat healthy, balanced meals throughout the day. Choose high-fiber foods, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. High-fiber foods offer a satisfying fullness and can help prevent overindulging come dinner time.

    Keep your portions in check
    Designate a sizeable portion of your plate for vegetables or begin your meal with a salad to stabilize your hunger signals. Be sure to eat with your stomach, not with your eyes, and stop when you start to feel full. 

    “Try using a smaller plate to help keep portions reasonable” Wagner said. “Smaller plates can trick you into thinking you have more than enough food to satisfy your hunger.”

    Don’t dine and dash for the sofa
    Instead of collapsing on the couch after a big meal, get your family and friends together for light activities. Perhaps play a game of charades or take a trip to the nearest sledding hill. 

    Enjoy being in the moment
    The holidays can bring a lot of stress – worrying about what and how much you eat or how much you spend on gifts. Don’t let it take over.

    “The holidays are about spending time with your loved ones, so enjoy the time with them to the fullest,” Wagner said. “And don’t be afraid to eat the foods you love. Try eating intuitively and savor every bite of Grandma’s famous apple pie that you only get to eat once a year. Getting back on track with normal, healthy eating right after the holidays is a great way to prevent holiday weight gain and eliminate any guilt from eating your favorite foods during holiday festivities.” 

    Do you have questions or concerns about your diet? Talk to your primary care provider or a registered dietitian. More information is available on the Aspirus website ataspirus.org.

    Sidebar: Healthy holiday swaps

    • Reduce dietary cholesterol by replacing a whole egg with two egg whites
    • Substitute butter with avocado in cookie recipes
    • Substitute oil, margarine or butter with applesauce in muffins and breads
    • Use fat-free yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise in dips and sauces
    • Choose reduced-fat or fat-free cheese in salads and casseroles


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    Aspirus is a non-profit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wisconsin. Its 7,700 employees are focused on improving the health and well-being of people throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Aspirus serves communities through four hospitals in Michigan and four hospitals in Wisconsin, 50 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and air-medical transport, medical goods, nursing homes and a broad network of physicians. Aspirus was recognized in 2018 and 2019 by IBM Watson Health as a Top 15 Health System in its annual study identifying the top-performing health systems in the country. For more information, visit aspirus.org.