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Staying healthy during the holidays

Posted by Janice Cox, RDN, LD, Lunds and Byerly’s Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The holidays are filled with friends, family and a lot of celebrating. Between large meals and numerous parties, keeping to a commitment of healthy eating can be difficult.

In September, we launched the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System at our 22 stores. Under the NuVal System, foods are graded on a scale between 1 and 100; the higher the score, the higher the nutrition. We have more than 15,000 products with NuVal scores, which can be found on the shelf tag next to the price.

NuVal  provides consumers with an easy guide to serving up healthy holiday meals that won’t require a New Year’s resolution to drop the holiday pounds.
Studies suggest that 75% of annual weight gain happens around the holidays. Making a conscious effort to maintain a healthy weight during the holiday season can help us enter the New Year feeling great about our eating efforts during the most challenging eating time of the year.

Hosting a dinner or party this holiday season? Here are some helpful hints on how to keep the holidays healthy without sacrificing our favorite tastes.

Creamy dips and decadent prepared starters can be some of the biggest culprits on the holiday menu. Substituting plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (NuVal Score: 93) for ingredients such as sour cream (NuVal Score: 25), mayonnaise (NuVal Score: 3) or heavy cream (NuVal Score: 4) in recipes can lighten the calorie load while adding protein.

Main Course
The best way to cut the fat content in your main dish is to opt for baking a light, white fish, such as Tilapia (NuVal Score: 82) or chicken breast (NuVal Score: 41) or choosing a lean cut of meat, such as top round (NuVal Score: 37). If you are preparing a vegetarian option, portabella mushrooms (NuVal Score: 53) or eggplant (NuVal Score: 96) are both tasty nutritious options.

Side Dishes
Piling your plate with side dishes can mean disaster for your waistline if you aren’t careful. Traditional items such as stuffing can be made nutritious with wild rice instead of bread, and add-ins such as onions and fresh cranberries to provide a wonderful taste or slight sweetness.

Everyone loves decorating gingerbread and sugar cookies around the holidays and we all know there is never a shortage of sweets at parties. To cut cholesterol levels, use two egg whites to every whole egg in baking recipes and replace heavy cream (NuVal Score: 4) with evaporated skim milk (NuVal Score: 100) in creamy pies and cheesecakes.

Other NuVal suggested holiday eating tips:

  • Never go to a party hungry! Make sure to have a small, protein-packed snack, such as unsalted almonds (NuVal Score: 81), before heading out so you won’t be as tempted to pile your plate at the buffet table.
  • Offer to bring an appetizer or side dish. Since you are preparing it yourself, you can bring a healthy option that you know won’t derail your normal diet. 
  •  When navigating the appetizer table, stick to the items in their most natural form. For example, fruits, nuts or any vegetables from the platter, but try to skip the heavy dip.
  • Do not stack foods on top of each other to fit more on your plate! Pick those that are most appealing to you and stop once you are full.
  • Choose only one dessert to indulge in instead of a small piece of each one available.
  • Avoid the breakroom at work and if you do indulge, limit your treats at work to one small portion a couple times a week. Take a walk on breaks and have a healthy snack on hand to help avoid temptation.
  • Drink lots of water. Carry water with you and drink it throughout the day. It will help fill your stomach and reduce feeling hungry.
  • Though you’re making healthier choices over the holidays, you still need to enjoy the season!

Call me if you have holiday eating questions at 952-541-1414.

Happy Holidays!

Tags: holidaynuval

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