According to the study Holiday Weight Gain: Fact or Fiction, "among the entire population, weight gain during the 6-week holiday season explained 51% of annual weight gain. These results suggest that holiday weight gain may be an important contributor to the rising prevalence of obesity."
Yes, holiday meals are often more generous when it comes to solid fats and added sugars, but they don't have to be. In fact, there are lots of great recipes out there that still taste indulgent without actually piling on the calories.
Here are a few examples...
Chicken Mushroom Sauté
2 tsp olive oil
8 ounces thinly sliced chicken breasts
2 cups white wine (or broth)
1/4 cup minced onion (or shallots)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté chicken on both sides until lightly browned on the outside and cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from pan.
Add onion, wine, mushrooms, and seasonings to the skillet, then let cook until the liquid has almost evaporated. Serve the chicken topped with the mushroom sauté.
Serves 4. Each serving: 214 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 48 mg cholesterol, 195 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, .5 g fiber, 19 g protein.
1 cup chopped green onion
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
16 ounces fresh flounder
4 cups raw spinach
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the spinach in a baking dish, then top it with the fish and the rest of the ingredients.
Bake the fish until done, about 10 minutes.
Serves 4. Each serving: 174 calories, 9 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 51 mg cholesterol, 618 mg sodium, 3.5 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g fiber, 19 g protein.
Barbecue Baked Salmon
4 4-ounce salmon fillets
4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the salmon fillets in a baking dish and add water. Top each fillet with a tablespoon of barbecue sauce and bake until done, about 20 minutes.
Serve with fresh lemon.
Serves 4. Each serving: 217 calories, 12 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 66 mg cholesterol, 193 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 22 g protein.
Salsa Broiled Tilapia
16 ounces of tilapia fillets
2 cups chopped tomato
1 lime, juice only
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeño
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Preheat your oven's broiler. Place fish in a baking dish and top with tomato, lime juice, green onion, and jalapeño.
Broil until fish is done, about 10 minutes.
Serve hot with baked salsa spooned over the top and garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley.
Serves 4. Each serving: 130 calories, 3.2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 57 mg cholesterol, 59 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 19 g protein.
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Of course, the recipe fun doesn't stop there! Take a look at these great cooking resources...
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.