With Halloween behind us, the holiday focus is on Thanksgiving. As we get ready for the biggest meal of the year, you might find yourself worrying about holiday weight gain.
Beth Czerwony, a Registered Dietitian with Cleveland Clinic, said the key to tipping the scale in your favor starts with cooking at home. This “pumpkin season," instead of going for the high sugar, high-carb pumpkin treats, Czerwony said try using it in every-day meals, and making the right substitutions.
"You could use pumpkin, roasted pumpkin, in oatmeal instead of having a carby-kind of base to things. I personally like to use pumpkin soup a lot, and make it savory. So using some curry in that, or some coriander, cumin, those types of things” Czerwony said.
She said pumpkin is low in calories, low-fat, and it’s starchier, so there’s no need to add heavy creams to thicken it.
As for other fall flavors, Czerwony said substituting spaghetti squash for pasta and adding herbs or seasonings is a flavorful way to spice up your meal, but keep it healthy. She also suggested roasting seasonal vegetables instead of sauteing or frying to bring our their natural sweetness.
"Vegetables, being lower calorie and having more fiber, more fluid, they are going to end up keeping you fuller longer, so this is a good way to bulk up the diet with more food, and thinking that you are going to stay fuller longer without giving a lot of extra calories," Czerwony said.
Other tips include using leaner cuts of meat, choosing smaller portion sizes, and tracking what you’re eating can help you avoid unwanted weight. Czerwony said it's OK to indulge in pumpkin pie or other favorite holiday treats once in awhile, but in moderation.