The holidays are upon us! Maybe you’re super excited and can’t wait to celebrate with friends and family or maybe you’re a tad nervous and worried about weight gain during this calorie heavy time of the year! Perhaps you’re more than a tad nervous. You’re down right freaking out that all of your hard work throughout the year will go down the drain. Do you plan what you’re going to wear and how you’re going to look for a holiday party? Put that same level of planning into your food and drink strategy!
Here are 10 KEY PARTY TIPS to maintain and not gain during the holidays!
1. Go into dinner with the mindset of eating normally until you are satisfied rather than pumping yourself up for an eating extravaganza where you eat until your pants need to be unbuttoned.
2. Keep up your workout schedule during the holidays and don’t skip out on Thanksgiving day. Even if you don’t have time because you’re preparing for guests, vigorously cleaning your house is better than nothing.
3. If you aren’t hosting, find out ahead of time what’s being served. You’re more likely to make better choices if you can contemplate the menu ahead of time. Visualize what you want your plate of food to look like.
4. Don’t starve yourself the day of so you justify stuffing yourself later. You’ll probably end up eating more.
5. Don’t go into the meal starving. Again, you’ll probably eat more than you intended, especially during appetizer time. Have a snack before you go to the event.
6. Set up some parameters to work within for the dinner such as have one glass of wine instead of three, have some mashed potatoes but stick to one portion instead of two.
7. Speaking of alcohol…know what a portion is. 1 serving of wine is 5 ounces, which measures out to a little more than 1/2 cup. Measure 1/2 a cup of water and pour into a wine glass prior to the event so you can see what it looks like. With beer, 12 ounces is one serving. If you’re a cocktail person, skip the sodas, juices and sweet n’ sour. Go for club soda with some citrus slices for the better option.
8. Plan to be social with the other guests! Remember you are there to socialize and be grateful for your life, not just to eat food. The more you talk and interact, the less you’ll eat. Fake it ’til you make it if you’re a shy person!
9. Before getting up for seconds or dessert, sit it out for a bit to see if you truly are still hungry. It takes about 20 minutes for you to recognize your fullness. If you really are still hungry, get a small second helping of 1 item rather than another plateful of food.
10. Do not take food home and if you’re hosting, send food home with your guests.
Bonus: Take a walk after the meal!
Is it OK to eat dessert at a holiday meal??
Dessert is ever present during holiday functions. Am I going to skip it? No Way! But, I’m going to build that dessert into my plan! Pie, cookies, cake, whatever. A portion of that dessert is going into my mouth. The Recipe Redux theme this month centered around healthy holiday desserts and I chose to make a lightened version of a Cranberry Semifreddo. What makes this semifreddo a healthier option and what the heck is a semifreddo?
A semifreddo is an In Italian semi-frozen dessert that looks like an ice cream cake, but without the cake part. It’s like a frozen mousse. It’s super simple to make, with a small list of ingredients. Because the base consists of whipped cream, whipped egg whites and sugar, it is a great canvas for an infinite number of flavors. This is the perfect dessert to make if you like ice cream, but don’t have an ice cream maker. Whip the cream, whip the eggs whites with sugar, add a flavoring and freeze. That’s it!
Now what puts this dessert in the “healthier” category? Yes, it has cream and sugar, but because the dessert is so creamy yet refreshing a small amount will do the trick to satisfy that dessert tooth! Many semifreddos are made with a cookie crust, but I didn’t include one because I really don’t think it’s necessary. Calories saved there. Some are also made with 1/2 a dozen egg yolks in addition to the egg whites. But, you really don’t need the yolks, so calories saved there as well. Finally, I decreased the amount of sugar so it’s not super icky sweet. More calories saved.
Food Safety Note!!! The egg whites in this dessert are not cooked. If you are concerned about consuming raw eggs, be sure to use pasteurized egg whites. Organic Valley sells them and out here on the west coast, I’ve seen them sold at Whole Foods and Sprouts markets.
Semifreddo means half frozen in Italian. It's rich and creamy, with a sweet tang from the Red Wine & Orange Cranberry sauce. To reduce the risk of foodborne illness, I suggest that you use pasteurized egg whites. Organic Valley is a popular and good quality brand that is easy to find at Whole Foods, Sprouts and other markets.
When whipping egg whites, make sure your bowl and beaters are clean and that eggs have been brought to room temperature.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup room temperature egg whites (use pastuerized egg whites if worried about consuming raw eggs)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1-3/4 cups Red Wine & Orange Cranberry Sauce (Recipe Here)
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan.
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream on high with the whisk attachment or hand mixer. Beat until fluffy peaks are formed.
- In a large, clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Add the sugar slowly while beating and beat until you see shiny, stiff peaks.
- Fold the egg whites into the whipped cream and then fold the cranberry sauce in.
- Spoon the semifreddo mixture into the springform pan and smooth out the top evenly with a spatula.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Allow semifreddo to thaw for about 5-10 minutes before slicing.