Category Archives: Holiday Tips

How To Fight Those Holiday Pounds

The holidays have arrived with all the high-calorie food and drinks of the season. It’s really no wonder why most of us gain weight during the next few weeks. Sweet temptations are everywhere. Holiday cookies, gingerbread houses, pumpkin pies, and more. Even healthy foods like sweet potatoes and green beans are somehow transformed into high-calorie dishes that will make you want to do nothing but fall asleep.

And don’t forget the drinks. Eggnog and alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories. Want to fight these holiday pounds?

#1) Remember the Reason for the Season

Sure, the holidays bring indulgent foods and drinks, but friends, gatherings, and family traditions aren’t only about food. Before a party remind yourself what the holiday season is all about—friends, family, giving, and religious traditions. Then stay focused on the reason for the season rather than the plate full of hors d’oeuvres in front of you.

Also, stay focused on your fat loss goals. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come and where you’re headed. Keep your goals in the forefront of your mind. A few bites of food aren’t worth hours on the treadmill. Remember that the holidays can be a time of emotional eating. For many people, the holidays bring stress, family conflict, or depression. 

If these issue start to wear down your will power then find the courage to address the root of your problems with solutions other than food or drink.

#2) Implement Strategies

If you want to keep your diet on track during this season of parties, you’ll need to pace yourself. Try the following strategies:

  • Don’t go to parties hungry, be sure to eat a small low-calorie snack ahead of time. Otherwise, you’ll overeat.
  • Wear tight-fitting clothes around your waist so there isn’t room for expansion.
  • Before and after a meal chew gum so you won’t be tempted to overindulge in appetizers and desserts.
  • During a party, don’t stand right next to the food table, but keep a safe distance.
  • Choose your plate wisely. Go with a small plate instead of a large dinner plate and don’t go back for seconds!

Another important strategy is figuring out how to get in a workout between parties. Leaving room in your busy holiday schedule for exercise will help you fight off the extra weight trying to attach itself to your midsection and rear.

#3) Make Wise Choices

Enjoy the goodness of the season, but in moderation. Trim calories where you can by limiting your trimmings-cheeses, gravy, sauces, creams, and nuts. Be smart about what you choose to eat. Don’t deprive yourself of all the foods you love or you’ll likely spurge and ruin all your good intentions.The holidays offer many food choices not available the rest of the year. 

Because of this, you may want to overindulge before they’re gone. Instead of doing this, survey what foods are available and make your choices. Indulge in your favorites and leave the everyday dishes for another time. Only eat what you love, and don’t just eat something because it’s on the buffet.

Also, be sure to limit the amount of alcoholic beverages you drink. As you likely know, they’re filled with calories, too. Try alternating an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink.

Follow these simple tips, and you will avoid holiday weight gain this season and start the New Year off right! Exercise is a huge part of the equation when it comes to achieving weight loss.

Source: Rene Serrate, U First Fitness


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4 Healthy Christmas Dinner Food Swaps

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By: Julia Lott, MS, RD, LD, Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine

If you are hosting Christmas dinner, you are most likely already making your grocery list.  Many of your guests having been attending holiday parties all month long; most of these dishes are high in fat, sodium, and calories.  Listed below are a few common Christmas table favorites and some changes to the recipes to cut back on calories.   

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach can be very high in fat since it has butter and cream.  Spinach is nutrient rich; however, all the extra cream and cheese in this dish can make it unhealthy.  Check out the revised recipe to serve a delicious and nutritious dish at your table.  Here is an original recipe and a revised one with less calories and fat.   

Original Recipe

3 (10 ounce bags) spinach

1 ¼ cup heavy cream

¼ cup butter

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons onion

6 slices Provolone cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cal: 244 kcal   Fat: 24g

6 – 8  servings per recipe

Makeover

3 (10 ounce bags of spinach)

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

½ cup onion minced

2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1 ½ tablespoons of 1% milk

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

¼ cup light cream cheese

Cal: 150 kcal  Fat:  9g

6 – 8  servings per recipe             

Honey Baked Ham

Honey baked ham is a fan favorite during Christmas.  What makes it so delicious is the honey and sugar when it is baked.  Here is a way to still get that sweet honey flavor without all the sugar.

Original Recipe

1 5lb ready to eat ham

¼ cup whole cloves

¼ cup dark corn syrup

2 cups honey

2/3 cup butter

Cal: 391kcal  Fat: 21 g  Sugar:  29g

4 oz serving of ham        

Makeover

1 5lb ready to eat ham

¼ cup whole cloves

¼ cup pineapple juice

¼ cup orange juice

2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon orange juice

Cal: 238 kcal  Fat: 5 g  Sugar:  13 g

4 oz serving of ham

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Spinach and artichoke dip is so delicious.  Unfortunately, it’s loaded with calories and fat.  Here are a few modifications to help reduce the calories and fat in this appetizer.  Also, you could have wheat or multi-grain crackers and even raw veggies for dipping instead of bread.

Original Recipe

8 oz cream cheese

2/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic minced

14 oz artichoke hearts drained

1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese

½ grated Parmesan Cheese

½ cup Gruyere cheese

Cal: 292 kcal Fat: 20 g Sat Fat: 8g

12 servings per recipe

Makeover

½ cup fat free sour cream

3 cloves garlic minced

14 oz artichoke hearts drained

10 oz frozen spinach

1  8oz block low fat (1/3 less fat) cream cheese

1 8oz block of fat free cream cheese

6 oz shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

1 oz grated Parmesan cheese

Cal: 138kcal Fat: 8 g Sat Fat: 4 g

12 servings per recipe

Pecan Pie

A popular dessert during the holidays is pecan pie.   It is so scrumptiously gooey, crunchy, and sweet!

Below is a lower sugar version that will still satisfy your sweet tooth and won’t go way over on sugar intake.  The addition of dates in the revised recipe helps keeps the chewy texture, while reducing calories, fat, and sugar. 

Original Recipe

Crust

1 unbaked 9” pie shellFilling

1 ¾ cup white sugar

¼ cup dark corn syrup

¼ cup butter

2 teaspoons corn starch

3 eggs

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ¼ chopped pecans                                      

Cal: 512 kcal Fat: 27g Sugar 47g

8 servings per recipe

 

Makeover

Crust

5 oz oat flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup vegetable shortening

2 tablespoons unsalted butterFilling

1 cup pecan halves

1 cup whole pitted Medjool dates

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup dark corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

Cal: 298 kcal Fat: 17g Sugar: 25g

8 servings per recipe


If you still need extra help during the holidays, let the Fresh ‘N Fit chefs make it a little easier for you.

Try the clean, healthy meals found on all 7 of Fresh ‘N Fit’s  menus and when you use promo code DECBLOG10, you’ll get 10% off your first order.

8 Holiday Home Food Safety Tips

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Enjoying food with family and friends is one of the highlights of the holiday season and while everyone wants to join in to help, too many cooks in the kitchen can result in an increased risk of food poisoning.

One in 6 Americans is sickened by food poisoning each year, and while it may involve flu-like symptoms, foodborne illness can cause severe and even life-threatening illnesses. Easy-to-do, safe food handling practices protect everyone in the family from getting sick.

Here are some tips to avoid common kitchen blunders when preparing meals, buffets and even homemade food gifts this holiday season.

Share the Gift of Home Food Safety This Season

Follow these simple steps to properly handle food and reduce your risk of food poisoning:

  • Defrost carefully. Never allow foods to defrost at room temperature, on the counter or in warm water. Defrost food only in the refrigerator, in the microwave or in a cool water bath with water that is changed every 30 minutes. When defrosting food in the refrigerator, remember to cover raw meat and place it on the bottom shelf so juices won’t drip onto other foods. When defrosting food in the microwave, cook it immediately afterward.
  • Wash hands before, during and after food preparation. Proper hand-washing may eliminate a large percentage of food poisoning cases. Remember to wash hands when switching tasks, such as handling raw meat and then cutting vegetables. Wash hands thoroughly in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep kitchen surfaces clean. Use hot, soapy water to wash countertops and surfaces, cutting boards, refrigerator door handles and utensils. After cleaning, keep it clean by avoiding cross-contamination.
  • Use two cutting boards. Dedicate one for raw meat, poultry and fish and the other for ready-to-eat foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Make it easy to remember by using color-coded cutting boards, one for raw meats and one for ready-to-eat foods.
  • Employ different utensils for different tasks. Use separate spoons and forks to taste, stir and serve food.
  • Resist temptation. When baking, avoid eating foods containing raw eggs such as cookie dough or cake batter. Raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.
  • Buy and use a food thermometer. It is the only reliable way to determine the doneness of your food and ensure that food is cooked to proper temperatures. (Do not rely on “clear juices” to tell that the turkey is done.)
  • Refrigerate food within two hours of serving. This helps to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. This is especially important when serving buffets. Use a refrigerator thermometer and make sure it’s set at below 40°F.

Are Your Guests at High Risk for Food Poisoning?

While you should always practice safe food handling, some guests might be particularly vulnerable to food poisoning, including older adults, pregnant women, young children and people with weakened immune systems. This may mean taking special precautions and keeping certain high-risk foods off the menu.

Whether you’re bringing a holiday dish to the party or preparing the holiday feast yourself, it’s important to practice safe food handling and keep in mind the needs of those who may be vulnerable to food poisoning.

Take special care during the holidays to ensure that vulnerable guests avoid high-risk foods, such as raw or undercooked eggs, raw or unpasteurized dairy products, raw fish or shellfish, raw or rare meat or undercooked poultry.

Joy to the Leftovers

Holiday meals often bring leftovers. Perishable food should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of serving or throw them out. In hot weather, when 90°F or above, toss within one hour of serving. Use an appliance thermometer to check that the refrigerator is cooling to 40°F or below and the freezer is 0°F or below.

Store leftovers in shallow containers (2 inches deep or less). Remove turkey from the bone and store it separately from the stuffing and gravy. Slice breast meat; legs and wings may be left whole. Use turkey within 3 to 4 days; stuffing and gravy within 1 to 2 days. Reheat leftovers to 165°F.

When in doubt, throw it out!

Source: Barbara Gordon, RDN, LD, Academy of Dietetics & Nutrition


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4 Tips for Enjoying the Holidays Without Gaining Weight

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Americans gain about one to two pounds during the holidays. While this doesn’t sound so dramatic, research shows it adds up over the years. Luckily, there are ways to avoid holiday weight gain.

Tip #1: Don’t Skip Meals

Saving your appetite for a big holiday party or feast? Don’t. Skipping meals during the day may result in overeating. It is especially important to have breakfast, as research shows that those who eat this important morning meal tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day. Include lots of fiber by eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fiber-rich foods are high in volume and will satisfy hunger, but are lower in calories.

Tip #2: Eat Small Portions

Holiday meals tend to be large, buffet-style and include second and third helpings. While one might not eat an entire cake, a common mistake is eating large portions of foods that are perceived as healthy. It’s important to include nutrient-rich foods in your diet, but also remember that these foods have calories as well and should be eaten in moderation. Using this approach at the holiday dinner table will allow you to maintain a healthful eating plan — one that can also include dessert.

Tip #3: Pick a Strategy to Avoid Overeating — and Use It!

There are many strategies to help you avoid overeating. Using a smaller plate, for instance, allows you to put less food on your plate and encourages proper portion sizes. Also, start by filling your plate with vegetables and salad before going to the entrees and desserts. Eating a salad before your meal can help you eat fewer calories overall. Eat slowly and savor every bite, and before you go back for seconds wait 10 minutes to see if you really still are hungry.

Tip #4: Keep Moving

Finally, after dinner, get some physical activity. This is a great time to go for a walk and catch up with family members, or play catch or a game of basketball with the kids.

Source: Barbara Gordon, RDN, LD, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics


Need some extra help with controlling your portion during the holidays? Try the clean, healthy meals found on all 7 of Fresh ‘N Fit’s chef prepared menus and when you use promo code BLOG10, you’ll get 10% off your first order.

Cooking With Kids During The Holidays

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With special treats and family gatherings, the perfect time to teach your child about cooking and nutrition is during the holidays! Kids not only will get to try the new foods they prepare, but they also will get a big boost to their confidence when they see family and friends enjoying their creations. Most importantly, cooking with your children will promote future health by teaching them about nutrition and how to prepare healthy meals.

Safety Precautions

To be safe, cover a few ground rules before getting started in the kitchen. Teach kids to wash their hands with warm, soapy water while singing two choruses of “Happy Birthday” to wash away germs.

Teaching Basics

To begin cooking, teach your child the basics, such as cracking an egg or gathering the ingredients for a favorite holiday recipe. Convey to your child the importance of measuring the correct amount of each ingredient and the different types of utensils you need to use.

Look Who’s Cooking!

To keep your children enthusiastic about cooking, assign tasks of a holiday recipe they are able to prepare based on their abilities. Here are some ideas depending on your child’s age and ability:

  • Three to five year olds: mix together simple ingredients, snap green beans, tear lettuce for a salad, press cookie cutters
  • Six to seven year olds: shuck corn, use a vegetable peeler, crack eggs, measure ingredients
  • Eight to nine year olds: use a can opener, juice citrus fruits, check the temperature of foods with a thermometer, pound chicken on a cutting board
  • Children age ten and older: slice or chop vegetables, boil potatoes, microwave foods, bake foods in the oven, simmer ingredients on the stove.

Remember to allow your child to gradually master cooking methods. Start with simple techniques such as rolling dough, using a cookie cutter or spreading frosting. Give your child time to work his or her way up to completing the entire cookie making process, from pouring liquids into batter to baking them in the oven. Explain different methods for cooking and their purpose, such as baking versus broiling and how you would cook different dishes.

Source: Sarah Kleim, RD, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics


Spending quality time while making great memories with your children is not just important during the holidays but all year long. But if you do need a break from cooking, the Fresh ‘N Fit chefs are here to help.

End the year on a high note by enjoying the clean, healthy meals found on all 7 of our chef prepared menus and when you use promo code HEALTHYHOLIDAYS10, you’ll get 10% off your first order.

 

Fresh ‘N Fit Nutrition Coaches: Staying Healthy For Thanksgiving

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Are you dreading the Thanksgiving Day spread? If you’re hosting a get-together, you want to make delicious dishes that your guests are going to love. However, many traditional Thanksgiving meals aren’t necessarily the healthiest and are loaded with fat, sodium and sugar. Here’s a few repeat Thanksgiving offenders that our Registered Dietitian, Ms. Julia Lott, has updated to offer a healthier version that everybody will enjoy.

Cranberry Sauce – Cranberry sauce can be very high in sugar. Many times recipes can call for a whole cup of sugar, which is a whopping 200 grams!

Original Recipe

  • 1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • Cal: 95 kcal  | Sugar: 2
  • 11 servings per recipe

Healthy Makeover

  • 1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Cal: 40 Kcal | Sugar: 8g
  • 11 servings per recipe

Sweet Potato Casserole – Traditional sweet potato casserole is high in fat and sugar. Take out the butter and marshmallows and will still taste amazing!

Original Casserole Recipe

  • 3 ½ pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Topping

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2½ cup mini marshmallows
  • Total Cal: 558 Kcal | Fat: 19g | Sugar 50g
  • 8 servings per recipe

Healthy Casserole Makeover

  • 3 ½ pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Topping

  • 1 tbsp packed dark brown
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • Total Cal: 160 Kcal | Fat: 4g | 18g
  • 8 servings per recipe

Green Bean Casserole – A green bean casserole is typically high in sodium. Make the switch to reduced cream soup and home made crispy onion topping and the sodium is significantly lower.

Original Casserole Recipe

  • 1 can of condensed cream mushroom soup
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked green beans
  • 1 ½ cup of crispy fried onions
  • Cal: 161 Kcal | Sodium 456mg
  • 6 servings per recipe

Healthy Casserole Makeover

  • 1 can of condensed cream mushroom soup (Reduced Sodium)
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked green beans
  • 1 medium onion cut into strips
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • Cal: 97 Kcal | Sodium: 27 mg
  • 6 servings per recipe
A simple strategy for reducing the fat, sodium and sugar in your Thanksgiving meals is to use low sodium items, substitute or reduce butter and sugar, and to use non-calorie flavor enhancements such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. By making some minor changes to your menu items, you will feel good about what your eating and your guests will thank you for thinking about their health and happiness as well.

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It’s Time For A New Perspective…

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Do you exercise with the hopes of reaching a specific number on the scale? Or are you wishing to fit into a certain size dress or jeans? While having a goal is great, it will NOT ensure your success.

Consider how many people you know who have had a specific weight that they wanted to reach. You are likely one of them. This number might have been posted up on a sticky note on the fridge, reminding you to watch what you eat and consistently make it to the gym. Maybe this number was updated and recorded everyday, to enforce accountability.

How long did that last? A week? Two weeks? Statistics dictate that it likely didn’t last longer than a few weeks until that “goal number” began to fade from your life. Then you took it down off the fridge, or you stared at it defiantly as you reached for the off-limits food. You began to look at your goal number as an adversary rather than something good.

IT’S NOT ABOUT REACHING A SPECIFIC WEIGHT

This may go against everything you’ve come to believe about achieving a goal, but then, your techniques haven’t exactly been working. The number that you’re hoping to magically be one day doesn’t matter one bit, and here’s why…

IT’S ACTUALLY ABOUT LIVING IN THE MOMENTUM

Can you remember how it felt the last time that you ate clean, exercised hard and got adequate sleep for a few consecutive days? A feeling of momentum came over you, didn’t it? There was a buzzing in your cells and a rhythm in your pace. You felt alive, you felt sexy, and you felt empowered. Never mind that you weren’t yet at your goal number, you were headed there!

Getting down to your goal weight, and fitting into your goal size, is the direct result of living in that state of momentum for an extended period of time. You see, the momentum can be felt immediately, once you start eating clean, exercising hard and taking care of your health, whereas that “goal number” simply can’t be felt until it is achieved, and so it’s not as powerful a motivator.

My challenge and advice to you is to find the joy of living in the momentum, and keep that momentum going until your goal number is achieved. Focus only on the momentum, not on the number.

Fitness is a way of life. Being lean is a lifestyle. Neither of which can be had by going about it halfheartedly.

Source: Rene Serrate, U First Fitness


Eating clean, exercising regularly and getting decent sleep. It’s seem like a simple combination but due to our busy schedules, it’s something that unfortunately is becoming harder to achieve. This holiday season, let the Fresh ‘N Fit chefs relieve some of the stress from the daily grind.

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