Is Everything Nice with Pumpkin Spice?
Fall is here and everyone knows what that means; Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING! I will admit, if I were not a nutrition professional, I would probably give in to a lot of the pumpkin junk too. So far I have seen Pumpkin Cheerios, Special K and Life for the cereal category. I have seen every brand of pumpkin spice donuts. Of course there are all the pumpkin spice muffins, cookies, pancakes, waffles, ice creams and breads. And how can I forget, the infamous Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte that is the season opener for it all. The holidays are a time where people indulge in more food than they should and throw their healthy lifestyles out the window for a couple months, with intentions to get back on track in January. But why does it have to be that way? Do we really look forward to setting a “diet” goal for our New Year’s resolution? What if we could eat the foods we enjoy throughout the holiday season and still stay on track? It is possible with just a few tips and tricks to have along the way.
Let’s begin by talking about portion control. Half the fun of holiday gatherings is seeing all the delicious food that guest bring. Eyes light up and people anxiously wait to fill their plate multiple times. This is problem number one! Special occasions call for engaging in special foods that you would not eat on a regular basis. However, now is the time to learn how to still have all of those foods and not feel like you are about to explode after. Plus, you have to save room for dessert! Beginning with the meat portion. This should consume about 1/3 of your plate; roughly 4 ounces for women and 6 ounces for men. Assuming turkey is going to be the main protein source, stick to about 2 tablespoons of gravy drizzled on top. It is meant to be gravy with your turkey, not turkey with your gravy! Next up is the array of casseroles and carb filled dishes. Green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cheesy corn, mashed potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese; they are endless and you want all of them! Using your plate as a measuring tool becomes very helpful in not over eating at social events. So far 1/3 of our plate is filled with protein, so fill the next third with a little bit of each side you would like to try. After you do that, feel free to grab a roll, but instead of the whole thing, try only having half. Lastly, you have a bit more room on your plate. Knowing you are walking into a food frenzy, be the guest who brings a nice refreshing salad or clean vegetable dish. The last third should be full of veggies; no green bean casserole does not count! Following this approach will leave you satisfied, knowing you were not depriving
yourself of anything you wanted to try. Some may even have multiple family gatherings for just one holiday alone, so sticking to portion control will leave you feeling not feeling like Santa this holiday season.
Now, what to do about your craving for everything pumpkin spice? Let’s begin by stating the obvious truth. If it is in a box, inside the aisles or on an end cap in the store, it is probably something you want to avoid on a regular basis. For the special occasions, have a piece of pie, sticking to about a two-inch (wide) slice. I have said it multiple times; I am a huge believer in moderation and no deprivation. Depriving yourself of food is the number one set up for failure, leading to constant food thoughts and typically a binge at some point in time. When it comes to giving in to the pumpkin spice craze, I would pick one treat every other week to taste test. Stick to the recommended serving size, which requires looking at the label and seeing what that is. Many will be shocked, as they are used to eating four and five cookies instead of just the recommended one. Another action you can take is getting creative yourself and making your own pumpkin goodies. You can make crust-less pumpkin pie, pumpkin smoothies, protein pumpkin pancakes and even pumpkin frozen yogurt. With some pumpkin puree, cinnamon and either honey or banana as a natural sweetener, all of these tasty ideas can be made and diet friendly. Protein powder is a great substitute for flour in recipes and ditches all the additional carbs. Not to mention, you get extra protein in the day, which many people need as well.
The holidays do not need to be a time of set back. They are a time of love, happiness and time spent together with family and friends. Take the time to love your body, be happy with your body and be the healthy example inspiring your family and friends. Start thinking of a New Years resolution that doesn’t require playing catch up on all the accomplishments you have made thus far in achieving better health. Keep it nice this season with pumpkin spice and check out the Pumpkin Spice Latte smoothie recipe below.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Smoothie
* 1 scoop AboutTime Pumpkin Spice Latte
* ½ banana
* ½ tsp cinnamon
* 10 ounces milk of choice
* 1 cup ice
> Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until desire consistency. Enjoy!