Tips For A Healthier Holiday Season With UnitedHealthcare

Studio 512

Indulging in too much during holiday feasts can lead to double-time on the treadmill when the new year arrives.

Dr. Ken Adams of UnitedHealthcare joined Studio 512 Co-Host Stephanie Gilbert to share some tips on how to approach eating this holiday season without having to pay for it in the new year.

Why is it important to be conscious of your eating choices during your holiday meal?

“A typical holiday dinner consisting of a heaping plate of turkey, sides, and all the fixings, served with a glass of wine and followed by a slice of pie with whipped cream, can add up to nearly 2,500 calories. If you add in appetizers and more drinks, a holiday celebration can exceed 3,000 calories — 3,000 calories are almost 50% more than the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended adult daily calorie intake — Being more intentional about meal, snack, and dessert choices can keep you from adding unwanted pounds that lead to negative health effects, while still enjoying your holiday celebrations.”

What are some tips for holiday healthy eating?

Dr. Adams shared:

  • 1) Don’t show up hungry: Does your office holiday party take place over lunch? If so, eat breakfast and a mid-morning snack to curb your appetite. If it’s an evening bash, have chicken or fish for lunch and a high-fiber, mid-afternoon snack to keep you fuller longer. 
  • 2) Plan your portions: Use the American Diabetes Association’s Create Your Plate tool to get an idea of healthy portions of vegetables, protein, grains and starchy foods, fruit and drink. 
  • 3) Pick your poultry wisely: Turkey and chicken are healthier than high-fat duck and goose. At mealtime, select white meat, which contains less fat than dark. Keep meat to a 3-ounce portion, roughly the same size as a deck of cards. Remove turkey or chicken skin to cut even more fat. 
  • 4) Revise recipes. There are lots of recipe alternatives out there that can cut fat and sodium as well as calories. A couple “swapportunities” include:
    • Use lemon juice and herbs to base your turkey instead of butter, swap out white bread in your stuffing for wild rice, use Greek yogurt instead of cream in mashed potatoes to give you the same creamy texture without all the fat, make your own cranberry sauce instead of the high-sugar canned version, make homemade sweet potato or pumpkin pie which is healthier than the store-bought, and replace cream with evaporated skim milk to maintain taste and texture. 
  •  5) Avoid emotional eating: Digging into a cheeseball when you’re cranky may offer short-term comfort from holiday stress, but emotional eating can sabotage weight-control efforts, according to the Mayo Clinic. Try managing stress levels with yoga, meditation or deep breathing instead. 
  • 6) Indulge selectively: Think you can’t eat pumpkin pie? Maybe you can, if you keep the portion small and forgo whipped topping. Or, maybe you choose to pass on dinner rolls and bacon-wrapped sausages to free up discretionary calories for a cookie or cup of eggnog. 
  • 7) Benefit from a buddy: The American Diabetes Association recommends enlisting the help of a friend, coworker or family member who also wants to avoid overeating. The two of you can split a dessert or even go for a walk together while everyone else sits down to pie and ice cream. 

Any recommendations on healthier menu options to focus on?

Dr. Adams shared:

  • 1) Cranberries are often referred to as a “super food” due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content. They are low in calories and high in vitamins C, A and K. 
  • 2) Sweet potatoes are full of fiber, antioxidants and vitamins A, C and B6, among others. One cup of sweet potatoes is about 180 calories. 
  • 3) Brussels sprouts are also a nutrient-dense option that’s low in calories and high in fiber — plus vitamins K and C. 
  • 4) Pumpkin is low in calories, while being highly nutritious. It’s particularly high in vitamin A, which is shown to help strengthen your immune system. It’s also a good source of fiber and antioxidants. 
  • 5) Green beans are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate and vitamin K. One cup contains almost 2 grams of protein.

Learn more about how UnitedHealthcare is “helping people live healthier lives” by visiting

This segment is paid for by UnitedHealthcare and is intended as an advertisement. Opinions expressed by the guest(s) on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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