10 tips for healthy holiday food

Nothings says Holidays like artificially sweetened low fat pumpkin pie with fake whipped topping.

The Food Nannies are baaaaaaccckk. Their mission: destroy what’s left of the Thanksgiving holiday. This year the Food Nannies have competition from the public health scolds in the race to ruin Thanksgiving. The message is:

  1. You should feel guilty about enjoying all those special once-a-year holiday meals and treats, because they’re made with high calorie ingredients.
  2. You should feel guilty about just being around other people.
  3. You should make Thanksgiving dinner out of fake ingredients. This supposedly makes dinner “healthier”. In reality, it just makes dinner fake.

What do these people consider is “safe” to eat?  Dry turkey breast, boiled green beans, water.  No gravy, no alcohol, no butter, no salt, no cream, no no no no. It’s the No Diet. As I’ve noted many times before, it’s as if the main stream media is controlled by people with latent eating disorders, who are terrified of real food.

Here’s are my 5 Worst Healthy Holiday Food tips:

  1. Use fake whipped topping.  It’s gross and tasteless, but if you’re into quantity instead of quality, you can dump a whole lot of this stuff on your pumpkin pie and not worry about calories. Trouble is, there’s no flavor or texture.
  2. Make fake gravy.  You end up with salty goo, thickened with corn starch and a lot of other additives, flavored with additives, colored with additives.  Basically thickened salt water with additives.
  3. Serve raw vegetables with fake low fat dip.  Inevitably these fake low fat dips and dressings are loaded with salt and sugar, in an attempt to create some flavor, along with thickeners.
  4. Use low fat ingredients in everything, from pumpkin pie to mashed potatoes to gravy and dips.  Fat adds flavor and texture; it enhances the satiety value of foods.  Low fat versions of those foods lack all of those qualities.  But if you value quantity over quality, you can eat more of the fake low fat foods and not worry about calories.
  5. Make desserts with artificial sweeteners.  FAKE.  Also, the chemical properties of artificial sweeteners are not the same as the properties of sugar, so your favorite desserts will never be the same as Grandma used to make.

Then there’s the Don’t Eat That list.  Cookies, candy, hot chocolate, cocktails, appetizers, rolls, desserts in general, candied sweet potatoes, stuffing, turkey skin, dark meat turkey, butter, real gravy, real whipped cream.

What you really have to ask yourself is this: do you value eating giant portions of fake food over eating small portions of real food?

10 pieces of good advice for holiday eating:

  1. Enjoy real food at the holidays.
  2. Don’t drink too much.  And don’t drink sugary soft drinks.  At all.
  3. Don’t eat too much.  Take small portions and avoid second helpings. Always good advice.
  4. If you took a serving of something out of sheer politeness, but you don’t care for it, just don’t eat it.  You are not obligated to eat anything and everything. In a pinch, you can say the food doesn’t agree with you, thanks anyway.
  5. Exercise, everyday if possible. Always good advice.
  6. Don’t leave food sitting out. Put the cookies, candy, pie, leftovers and other tempting foods away out of sight.
  7. Don’t make every holiday activity about food.
  8. I’d suggest that some recipes really are overdoing it. Marshmallows on sugary sweet potatoes? Mashed potatoes and rolls and stuffing? Five kinds of pie plus ice cream plus cake? At some point, you have to make some choices. Simplify!
  9. It also helps to eat very modestly on non-party days, focusing on vegetables and fresh fruit.  
  10. DO NOT equate low fat, artificially sweetened, salt-free, gluten-free, non-GMO and dairy-free with health. Always, always good advice.

I read a fabulous blog post about Thanksgiving last week, written by Vinay Prasad MD MPH a doctor who is also an author. His main point is this: finger-wagging scolding and shaming people about the evils of having Thanksgiving dinner in 2020 are counter-productive and accomplish nothing. Dr. Prasad calls them out for exploiting social media to spread shame and fear. That not what public health is about. Well worth reading.

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