Winter is the time of comfort foods, of holiday “belly-busting” dinners, and cold temperatures preventing most people from getting enough exercise. It is no wonder most people gain weight during the winter.
According to a CNN.com story, Americans will gain one or two pounds, or more if they are already overweight, just from Thanksgiving to Christmas. That may not seem like a lot but year after year, a few extra pounds adds up to needing a new dress size (or two).
However, that doesn’t have to be the case. There are easy ways to enjoy the foods Americans love to eat without also taking in the extra calories, fat, and sugar.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) believes it can be as easy as replacing high fat/high calorie items with their lower fat/lower calorie alternatives. People can drink skim milk for example, instead of whole milk.
The NHLB is a government-funded research, training and education program designed to help enhance the health of all people so they can live longer, more fulfilling lives. The NHLBI website provides numerous other ways to switch out fattening foods with healthier choices so as not to gain weight.
Here are a few of their top suggestions:
• Instead of full-fat cream cheese, choose Neufchatel cheese which has the same density but is significantly lower in fat and calories. Neufchatel cheese lightens up a cheesecake or the ordinary bagel and a smear.
• When eating cake, pick out angel food, gingerbread or “white” cakes, instead of chocolate, yellow, or pound cake.
• Eschew full-fat salad dressings for the lighter versions or simply use fresh lemon juice or plain, herb-flavored or wine vinegar.
Some of these suggestions seem obvious. Choosing light or fat-free over “regular” options is something everyone can do, but sometimes it may not seem worth it.
Do the lighter versions really save that many calories? The short answer: yes! Switching from whole milk to skim milk saves 90 calories for every cup.