Winter Nutrition "Survival" Guide

Published: January 11, 2018

By Lisa Zarny, MS, RD, CD-N, Jane Wynne, MS, Dietetic Intern, Isabel Gouveia, Nutrition Volunteer

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The New Year is in full swing and holiday celebrations have come and gone. As they say, it was the most wonderful—and for most of us delicious—time of the year! Families came into town for Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanza, and heaping platefuls of food were prepared and eaten. According to the National Institutes of Health, Americans gain at least 5 lbs. from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day (1).

With all of these delicious treats consumed, we may be wondering how to find nutritional balance and stay on top of your intake for the rest of the winter, and into spring and summer. There are ways to be mindful about food choices, as calories add up quickly. Take these tips to heart for your next gathering, or for any time: 

  1. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that eating a salad or similar healthy option before going to a party or indulging in an entrée can help to make you feel full, reduce overall caloric intake, and prevent overeating (2)

  2. Focusing on foods that you truly enjoy and skipping the ones that you don’t necessarily like as much could lead to less of a calorie intake. When it comes to warm and hearty winter beverages, drinks such as cider and eggnog can have whopping calorie counts. One cup of eggnog is equivalent to almost 350 calories (3). Quenching your thirst with water or seltzer can help to minimize your alcohol and caloric intake.

  3. Subtly using substitutes for fatty and cholesterol-increasing items, including butter, salt, and sugar, can help keep you and your guests happy and healthy. Hint: substituting applesauce for oil or butter in breads and muffins can decrease fat consumption and still taste great! Consider using two egg whites in the place of a whole egg in a recipe, and consider using low-fat or fat free yogurt in place of sour cream and mayonnaise for sauces and dips.

These are just a few examples of ideas you can utilize. It is the perfect time of year to enjoy friends and family, while still making smart and healthy choices. 

  1. Yanovski, Jack A. et al. “A Prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain.” The New England journal of medicine 342.12 (2000): 861–867. PMC. Web. 19 Dec. 2017.
  2. Wolfram, T. “Stay Mindful with 4 Tips for Holiday Eating.” Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 20 Dec. 2016. 
  3. Self Nutrition Data. “Eggnog Nutrition Facts & Calories.”

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