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Healthy Holiday Eating: A Comparison of Two Meal Plans

Fitday Editor
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During holiday gatherings, you may be confronted with array of food and drink options that you rarely see during the rest of the year. Though overindulging could derail your health plans, do not despair! Study the two meal plans below - their similarities and differences - to see where a few small changes could make a big impact.

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Traditional Holiday Dinner

Healthy Holiday Dinner



3 pigs in blankets
crudités and dip
4 crackers with 2 oz. of cheese
handful of mixed nuts
1 pre-dinner cocktail

crudités with fat-free yogurt dip
corn chips with bean dip and salsa
handful of Concord grapes
1 light beer



1 cup salad with ranch dressing
3 oz. light and 3 oz. dark roasted turkey with skin
½-cup stuffing
½-cup mashed potato
½-cup gravy
½-cup candied sweet potato with marshmallow topping
½-cup string bean casserole
¼-cup cranberry sauce
2 glasses white wine

1 cup salad with low-calorie dressing
3 oz. skinless roasted turkey breast
1/3-cup stuffing
1/3-cup white potatoes mashed with nonfat sour cream and chives
¼-cup defatted gravy
1/3-cup steamed sweet potatoes flavored with apple cider and cinnamon
¾-cup roasted mixed vegetables
¼-cup light cranberry sauce
1 glass white wine



1 sliver pumpkin pie and pecan pie, each with a dollop of whipped cream

pumpkin pie filling in custard cip
½-cup Indian (corn) pudding

Total Nutrition


4,027 calories
355g carbohydrate
127g protein
204g fat
17g fiber
5,965 mg sodium
478 mg cholesterol

1,130 calories
178g carbohydrate
50g protein
11.5g fat
19g fiber
1,417mg sodium
92mg cholesterol

Remember that a holiday meal may have more food options than what you regularly eat for dinner, so it is OK to have more than your standard dinner. Considering most people should eat at least 1,800 calories a day, if you eat a light breakfast and lunch, you won't go much over. To ensure that you stay in caloric maintenance, take a pre-dinner hike or post-dinner walk.

Jeannie Gedeon, MPH, RD/CDN is a nutrition therapist who specializes in counseling for eating and weight issues and is an expert in the treatment of eating disorders. Jeannie works with patients recovering from anorexia and bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, compulsive overeating, night eating syndrome, food addiction and compulsive exercise. Her offices are located in mid-town Manhattan and Huntington, NY.

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