10 easy foods to combat holiday excess

celeryHoliday weight gain isn’t inevitable.

Holiday parties and calorie excess go hand in hand.  What can you do about it?  Eat very modestly the rest of the time, choosing highly nutritious and filling foods that are light on calories.  These 10 items  are readily available at your local grocery store and require little preparation, so stock up and be prepared to eat healthier in between the parties and holiday meals.

  1. Broth-based soups: preferably full of vegetables and low sodium (add your own dash of salt if necessary).  Filling, comforting and low calorie.  The only exception to the broth recommendation is plain tomato soup.
  2. Citrus fruits: tangy, filling, loaded with nutrients and in season.  Choose from oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, mandarins.
  3. Yogurt: tasty, filling, high protein, ready-to-eat.
  4. Greens: chopped and lightly sautéed, they’re filling and flavorful.  Add sliced mushrooms to the pan, and finish with a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  5. Rotisserie chicken: if you don’t have time or know-how to cook your own chicken, buy a pre-cooked chicken.  Pull the meat off the bones and store in the refrigerator.  Add 2-3 oz of meat to a salad or vegetable sauté to boost protein and increase satiety.  You can also freeze 3 oz portions so you don’t have to eat up a whole chicken in 3 days.
  6. Pre-chopped, pre-washed and ready-to grab raw vegetables: You can buy veggie trays at the grocery store or just buy packages of vegetables and wash your own.  My favorites: red radishes, celery, broccoli and carrots.
  7. Herbal teas: comforting, flavorful and calorie-free
  8. Club soda: fizzy and filling.  You sip it, so it seems more special than just guzzling a glass of water.
  9. Ready-to-eat fish, such as canned white meat tuna or smoked salmon.  Great source of protein.
  10. Cottage cheese: very high protein and low fat versions are lower calorie.  1/2 cup will be filling and satisfying.

Shrimp? It’s high protein and low calorie.  Pre-cooked shrimp it widely available.  Why not stock up?  Well, here’s a sad situation: a lot of the shrimp we buy comes from Asia, where slave labor is used to process the shrimp. Here’s what I’m doing: I only buy shrimp that’s clearly sourced closer to home, such as the southern U.S.  If you’re unsure about the origins, ask the butcher in your grocery store.  The downside: the shrimp will probably be more expensive.  The upside: it might taste better.

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