The holiday food minefield

We start out with the best of intentions — trying to eat more sensibly and get a little exercise.

Then comes the holidays. Everywhere you turn, people are offering you Christmas cookies, eggnog and tamales. Holiday parties bring buffets laden with too many tempting treats.

“It’s still possible to have a healthier meal in a way that it’s going to keep you feeling well,” said Clarissa Rivera, a registered dietitian at University Health System’s Texas Diabetes Institute.

Keeping an eye on food portion sizes can help. Experts recommend filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with lean meat and another quarter with grains.

A few more ideas:

  • One way to cut a lot of calories is to make a crustless pumpkin pie.
  • Instead of frying chicken, try baking chicken with a seasoned bread crumb-and-egg white breading.
  • For dipping snacks, substitute high-fiber vegetables like carrots for that satisfying crunch instead of fried chips.

And give a little thought to what you pour in your glass to go with that meal.

“We want to avoid those extra calories that are found in beverages,” Ms. Rivera told KENS5 reporter Jeremy Baker. “Extra sugar in soda can easily add two hundred calories to a plate.”

Here’s some additional advice on avoiding nutritional pitfalls during the holidays from University Health System’s Health Library.

You can see the complete interview with Ms. Rivera here — along with a couple of recipes — as part of our Real Men Wear Gowns partnership with KENS5 to raise awareness about men’s health issues.