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During the holidays there are many temptations put in front of you.  Many companies send you food to show appreciation for your business throughout the year – boxes of chocolates, tins of cookies, and bins of flavored popcorn.  And, there are business meetings, church and social events you attend which have more high fat, high sugar snacks to tempt you during the holiday season.  Don’t lose sight of how many “treats” you try in one day or throughout the week.  You don’t have to avoid them altogether but be conscience of what you are eating.  Allow yourself one treat a day, especially if you don’t want to gain weight over the holiday season.

If you are going to a party, bring your own healthy treat to share.  Here’s one to try:

Cheesy Popcorn

Ingredients:

¼ Cup margarine

½ Teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

¼ Teaspoon garlic powder

8 Cups warm popcorn

1/3 Cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Stir margarine in a large pan over medium heat until melted. Add the seasonings and popped popcorn and stir until it is completely coated. Add the cheese and stir until it melts.

Yield: makes 8 – 1 cup servings.

Nutritional Analysis:

Calories: 80, Total Fat: 3 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Protein: 3 g, Total Carbohydrates: 6 g, Sodium: 105 mg, Cholesterol: 5 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Vitamin A: 255 IU, Vitamin C: 0 mg, Calcium: 62 mg, Iron: 0 mg.

Source:  West Virginia University Extension Service.

To help you curb the temptation of too many food “treats,” sip water by keeping a container of water on your desk.  Add a little flavor to your water by adding slices or lemon, lime, or orange.  Research has shown that people who drank 2 cups of water before meals, over a 12 week period, lost 5 pounds more than those who did not.   If you drink sugar sweetened beverages such as sweet tea, soda or lattés try to replace them with water.  Think “WATER FIRST FOR THIRST!”  A high calorie beverage can really add on the calories.

Just keep your eye on the goal to maintain your weight over the holiday season.

Author:  Linnette Goard, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources:

American Chemical Society (2010) Clinical trial confirms effectiveness of simple appetite control method.  Available at: http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=223&content_id=CNBP_025477&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=1d38a07c-5dc8-4718-b0eb-d8455408a0ac

Iowa State Extension, Holiday eating tips.  Available at: http://www.fshn.hs.iastate.edu/nutritionclinic/handouts/newsletters/HolidayEatingTips.pdf

eXtension, Families, Food and Fitness (2009) Make water your number 1 beverage.  Available at:  http://www.extension.org/pages/19893/make-water-your-number-1-beverage

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