Dieting and Weight Loss Tips – This Mama Cooks! On a Diet™ Healthy recipes & lifestyle tips for busy moms & their families Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:35:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dieting and Weight Loss Tips – This Mama Cooks! On a Diet™ 32 32 Reduce your appetite between meals with Meta Appetite Control Mon, 04 Jul 2016 16:18:16 +0000 Learn how to reduce your appetite between meals with Meta Appetite Control!

The problem with eating gluten free is that it isn’t a high fiber diet since most gluten free grains are processed and refined. Since I don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, I’m always on the lookout for easy ways to get fiber in my diet. I’m also looking for healthy ways not to snack between meals – a healthy source of fiber can help with that. So when I was introduced to Meta Appetite Control, I thought this is just what I need.

Meta Appetite Control is a a clinically proven fiber supplement that helps reduce your appetite for up to four hours.* It’s an easy to take source of fiber, too. Just mix two teaspoons of the orange flavored 100% natural psyllium fiber powder into 8 or more ounces of cold water. The psyllium fiber in the powder thickens and forms a gel, which helps you feel full. (If it’s too thick for your taste, just add more cold water.)

I found that Meta Appetite Control made a refreshing and tasty drink. It wasn’t hard to drink as the fiber wasn’t gritty and the gel the psyllium fiber formed made it feel like drinking a smoothie. I definitely noticed a feeling of fullness and it helped me feel less hungry between meals.

I like using Meta Appetite Control in the mid- to late afternoon when I’m tired and feel like eating an “afterschool snack.” Instead, I have a glass of cold water with Meta Appetite Control and wouldn’t feel hungry until dinner time. I also liked how Meta Appetite Control got me to drink more water and add more fiber to my diet – things I should be doing anyway! Plus, it was took no time at all, so I could get back to work.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Learn how to reduce your appetite between meals with Meta Appetite Control!
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Jenny Craig 5 Day Weight Loss Starter Kit now at Walmart Sat, 06 Feb 2016 02:45:49 +0000 Try the Jenny Craig 5 Day Weight Loss Starter Kit. Now available at Walmart!

I was provided a free Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit. However, the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Last year, I did a Jenny Craig 3 Day Weight Loss Starter Kit review – and loved it. This month, I’m excited to announce that Walmart is now selling the Jenny Craig 5 Day Weight Loss Starter Kit! (Call first to make sure your local store has it in stock.)

You’ll find the Jenny Craig Weight Loss Kit at Walmart in the diet/weight loss aisle. You can also order the Jenny Craig 5 Day Weight Loss Starter Kit online at

What I love about the 5 day Jenny Craig Kits sold at Walmart is that if you’re interested in a weight loss program like Jenny Craig, the Jenny Craig Weight Loss Kit gives you a chance to sample it without spending a lot of money or making a big commitment. That way you can learn about the Jenny Craig weight loss plan and see if the food is to your liking before signing up at a Jenny Craig center or at Jenny Craig Anywhere, their one-on-one support program that’s done over the phone or on via Skype.

What I like about the 5 day kit over the 3 day kit is that it gives you a better feeling of what it would be like in real life on the Jenny Craig Weight Loss plan. Some of us are fine for a few days on a diet plan, and then we have a late night with a sick kid and forget to bring our healthy salads and cut up fruit to the office the next day! Having a five day supply will help you understand how you’ll need to plan and adjust your lifestyle to eat more healthfully.

I recommend a plan like Jenny Craig for people who are too busy to cook special meals for themselves when they’re already cooking meals for their family. Having premade and measured portions of food can make starting  a healthy eating plan so much easier. I also like how easy it is to bring prepackaged food like Jenny Craig to work or having it ready to go for dinner after a exhausting day. Having that convenience makes it so much easier to stick to a plan, meet your goals, and lose the weight.

What you get in the Walmart Jenny Craig 5 Day Weight Loss Starter Kit

Included with the 5 Day Kit from Jenny Craig are five days worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. The Jenny Craig 5 Day Weight Loss Starter Kit also comes with a Starter Kit Menu to help your figure out which Jenny Craig meals to eat and when, and to give you guidance about fruit, milk and non-starchy vegetable equivalencies. You also get a coupon book that includes a free month of consultations for any Jenny Craig center in the US (or via telephone at Jenny Craig anywhere) and a $50 food credit when you sign up with Jenny Craig. 

The Jenny Craig diet and weight loss plan is very easy to follow. All the Jenny Craig meals and foods are color coded – yellow for breakfast, green for lunch, orange for dinner, and magenta for after dinner snacks. (Yes, after dinner snacks!)

Here’s a video I put together showing you what’s included in the Jenny Craig 5 Day Weight Loss Starter Kit that’s now available at Walmart!

Jenny Craig food hacks

The food in the 5 Day Starter Kit was just as tasty as the Jenny Craig food in 3 day kit. However, I missed the chocolate shakes from the 3 Day Jenny Craig Kit since my favorite breakfast hack (a fun way to dress up and play with my food) was to add espresso powder to the chilled chocolate shakes and make skinny mochachinos.

Another Jenny Craig weight loss hack is for people who like milk in their coffee in the morning and wonder where they’re going to get it. Just don’t put all 8 ounces in your Jenny Craig cereal! Instead put 1 to 4 ounces of warm milk in with your coffee. (Heat it up in the microwave.) I like making a café au lait and using a no calorie coffee syrup to sweeten my coffee.

Another hack you can do with the food in the Jenny Craig 5 Day Weight Loss Starter Kit is to take the Chicken Chili and combine it with 1/2 cup of your favorite frozen vegetables. (I love using frozen vegetables because they’re already cleaned and chopped). Mix the veggies and chili together in a microwave safe dish, heat and you have a Chicken Chili Casserole!

Finally, my favorite part of the 5 Day Weight Loss Starter Kit was the addition of non-fat Greek yogurt as a snack along with one serving of fruit. The hack possibilities are endless: frozen yogurt pops with fruit, yogurt sundaes with fruit layers, or smoothies (add ice cubes to your blender for more volume to your shakes). Yummy!

What kind of “hack” will you be making with your Jenny Craig Starter Kit food?

Disclaimer: Results not typical. Members following the Jenny Craig program, on average, lost 1-2lbs. per week.

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Jump start your weight loss with the Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit Sun, 11 Oct 2015 16:48:37 +0000 Jump start your weight loss with the Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit. Learn more at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

I was provided a free Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit. However, the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

When I first came across the Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit that’s available at Walmart in the diet/weight loss aisle for around $45, I thought it was so clever. If you’re interested in a weight loss program like Jenny Craig that comes with premade food, it gives you a chance to sample it for three days without spending a lot of money. That way you can learn about the Jenny Craig weight loss plan and see if the food is to your liking before signing up at a Jenny Craig center or at Jenny Craig Anywhere, their one-on-one support program that’s done over the phone or on via Skype.

Many years ago when I was out of college, but still living at my parent’s house, I signed up with a similar diet plan with premade food. It was perfect for my lifestyle. I was single and barely cooked for myself. Mostly I went out to eat with friends, and that’s when I started to gain a bunch of weight. Those restaurant portions are out of control!

Having premade and measured portions of food made my life so much easier. I could easily bring the prepackaged food to work or to a friend’s house, and it helped me lose weight.

Learn more about the Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

If you’re a regular reader of mine, you might be thinking, “Hey Anne-Marie, I thought you’re all about cooking from scratch!” Well, I am. But not everybody cooks! Or more likely, you’re a mom who wants to lose some weight  to get into that beautiful dress you bought on sale for this year’s New Year’s Eve party. Who wants to cook special meals for one when you’re already cooking for the rest of the family? A weight loss program like Jenny Craig takes the hassle out of all that measuring, chopping and “cooking for one”!

Plus, it’s so easy! The Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit came with everything I needed for three days except for a few things like milk (you can substitute soy milk), fruit, salad, low fat salad dressing, and some fresh or frozen non-starchy vegetables. So I’m sure the regular plan’s the same way. All you need to do is swing by Walmart, like you did when you picked up your Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit!

I have to say that Jenny Craig’s food is so much better than the not-so-great diet food I had way back when. You can hardly call it diet food. Jenny Craig’s Weight Loss Starter Kit is filled with 23 meals and snacks that taste just as good as any regular premade foods you’d find at the supermarket. It’s just convenience food that’s nutritionally portioned to help you feel satisfied and full at every meal. You can read about Jenny Craig’s nutritional philosophy, the Volumetrics® Approach, on their website.

Interested in losing weight with Jenny Craig? Try it out for three days with the Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit that you can buy at Walmart. Learn more at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

The three day sample meal plan is flexible if you get a little creative. For example, I’m used to having coffee with unsweetened soy milk in the morning. Since the Chocolate Dream Shake was on the plan one morning, I added some espresso powder to it and had a delicious “mochachino” instead. Another morning, I took some of the milk for my cereal and added it to my coffee. I also added my fruit to my breakfast cereal, and my sautéed pepper strip veggies to my heated up Turkey Chili. Coming up with “meal hacks” made the food more tasty and  satisfying.

The Jenny Craig diet and weight loss plan is also easy to follow. All the foods are color coded – yellow for breakfast, green for lunch, orange for dinner, blue for snacks/supplemental, and magenta for after dinner snacks. (Yes, after dinner snacks!) The Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit also came with a Starter Kit Menu to guide you along and give you guidance about fruit, milk and non-starchy vegetable equivalencies.

Interested the Jenny Craig weight loss diet plan? Try it out for three days with the Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit that you can buy at Walmart. Learn more at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

The Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit also comes with information about the Jenny Craig weight loss program, how to follow the three day plan, and information on how to get a free initial personal one-on-one consultation at any Jenny Craig center or at Jenny Craig Anywhere. There’s also a special $50 food savings when you join a Jenny Craig center. Finally, my chocolate dream shakes came with a week’s pass to Curves.

The only negative I saw with Jenny Craig food is that it isn’t gluten free and many of the foods won’t work with various food allergies. If you’re vegetarian or have food allergies or sensitivities and are interested in Jenny Craig, I would suggest calling Jenny Craig Anywhere and talking with a consultant. They should be able to tell you if they can work around your dietary needs.

Will you be stopping by Walmart to purchase a Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit?

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10 tips for healthy gluten free holiday eating Tue, 02 Dec 2014 12:30:25 +0000 10 tips for healthy gluten free holiday eating at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet -

With the holidays upon us, we’re in prime eating season. You’ve already made significant changes to your diet by going gluten free, so you’re probably watching everything else that you’re eating as well.

Still it’s hard to pass up that fudge or a creamy peppermint spiced latte, especially if it fits into your gluten free lifestyle. Problem is that you won’t be fitting into your skinny jeans once January rolls around if you over indulge! So here are 10 tips on how to deal with the holiday parties at work, the meals at relative’s homes, and getting together with friends.

1. Eat something before going out. If you don’t eat all day, you’ll arrive at the party starving and will lose control and overstuff yourself. You may be tempted to eat something that’s not gluten free, too, just because you’re so hungry.

2. Cut back on the alcohol, which is high in calories and slows your metabolism. Make a wine spritzer or choose a skinny margarita. Also, the more you drink, the more likely you are to overeat. Keep hydrated, too! If you’re thirsty, the tendency is to eat more. Choose some sparkling water flavored with a little fruit juice or a squeeze of lime or lemon. Some people like to drink one large glass of water for every glass of alcohol they imbibe. 

3. If you’re at someone’s home, serve yourself.  Don’t allow someone else to heap your plate full of stuff you shouldn’t be eating – including something that might not be gluten free!

4. If it’s possible, use a smaller plate. Make lean proteins and vegetables the star of your plate, but add a few goodies, too. Don’t feel deprived! For some of us feeling deprived means we’ll overeat later.

5. Entertain at your house. Cook up some of your holiday favorites that are delicious but healthy, low calorie, low sugar, and (of course) gluten free. That way you’re in control of the menu! A sample holiday menu might be a roast turkey breast, lots of gorgeous healthy winter salads, roasted vegetables, sugar free cranberry sauce, healthy yogurt dips, and Udi’s Gluten Free breads. Don’t forget your favorite gluten free desserts, too.

6. If you’re doing the entertaining, send the leftovers home with friends. (Buy some inexpensive food storage containers for this purpose.) That way you won’t be tempted to overindulge the next day. Keep the healthy stuff for you like salads, lean proteins, and veggies.

7. Instead of having a party, arrange to go out to eat – at your favorite restaurant with a gluten free menu, of course! Again, you’ll know exactly what you can eat there. Since there are fixed portions (unlike a party where you can graze) you won’t be as tempted to overeat.

8. Reward yourself with a non-food treats. Skip the creamy coffee drink for finally getting the holiday newsletter done. How about going to the movies? (No popcorn or candy, please!) Maybe get a massage or spend time at a local museum with your favorite aunt for a few hours. If the weather’s nice where you live, take your dog to the local dog park for a round of Frisbee or ball tossing.

9. After a heavy holiday family meal, why not take a walk after dinner? A stroll around the block burns calories, helps relieve bloating and prevents heartburn, too! Get the kids on their bikes and take the dog out for her potty break. If the weather isn’t cooperating, put on some music or play a dancing video game with the kids.

10. And if you overindulge, just get back on the healthy eating track the next day. In fact, studies show that dieters who take a break are more successful in losing weight and maintaining the weight loss over time. Remember not to use the excuse of one bad night to keep over indulging the next day (or week)! Drink lots of water, take a walk, have a healthy meal, and get back to your healthy, gluten free routine!

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

Enter the Nutrisystem Fuel A Better You Sweepstakes! #FuelABetterYou Tue, 13 Aug 2013 10:00:23 +0000 This post brought to you by Nutrisystem, Inc.. All opinions are 100% mine.

Nutrisystem Fuel A Better You Sweepstakes - Fuel your goals. Fuel your greatness. When I was in my 20s I joined Nutrisystem and was very successful using their products to lose weight. Back then you had to go to one of their centers to attend meetings and purchase food, which took up a lot of time. Now Nutrisystem offers live counseling by phone or online, so you can deal with your weight issues privately and conveniently.

In addition, by delivering quality food and meal programs directly to your doorstep, Nutrisystem provides a convenient way to learn how to lose weight and live healthier. With over 150 perfectly portioned® entrees and snacks on the menu, you’re sure to find something you like to eat. They also offer vitamins, supplements, cookbooks, and a host of other tools to maximize your weight loss success.

In my opinion, this is a good weight loss option for those who don’t like to cook or live such a busy lifestyle that they don’t have the time to cook. These are the same folks who rely on fast food and restaurant meals, which is why they have a weight issue in the first place. The beauty of Nutrisystem® is that it provides you with food to eat so you learn proper portions. Then as you eat more regular food, you learn via their online support, healthy ways to eat and how much you should be eating at meals.

The Nutrisystem Fuel A Better You Sweepstakes - Fuel your goals. Fuel your greatness.

They're running a Nutrisystem Fuel A Better You Sweepstakes. Four winners will receive one Nutrisystem® Select® program with 28 days of food products delivered to their door. One grand prize winner will receive one Nutrisystem® Select® program, with 28 days of food products delivered to their door and five hundred dollars ($500) cash.

To enter the Nutrisystem Fuel A Better You Sweepstakes, visit the sweepstakes tab on the Nutrisystem Facebook Page, fill out the entry form, and press the enter button to submit your entry. Easy!

The Nutrisystem Fuel A Better You Sweepstakes is brought to you by Nutrisystem. I’ve been compensated to promote their sweepstakes, but all opinions and experiences are my own.

Visit Sponsor's Site

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Getting into shape after a new baby Tue, 07 May 2013 15:45:57 +0000 Getting into shape after a new babyNew moms deal with a lot of new challenges: breastfeeding, diapering, cleaning, financial stresses, and then there’s weight loss. Everyone gains weight with their pregnancy, so you’re definitely not alone. Like all other moms, you carried another person in your tummy for nine months. After your child’s birth, you’re likely ready to shed some of that weight and get back to your pre-baby frame. It’s possible to exercise your way to your pre-baby weight, but it’s going to take some time, money, and a lot of effort.

Set goals and be realistic

Once your baby is born, you’ll find there’s not a lot of time for extra activities. You’ll be on round-the-clock baby watch, constantly holding, feeding, changing, and comforting your new bundle of joy. You’re going to be tired, especially in the first few months. You may find that there isn’t a lot of time for working out just after you give birth.

If possible, create a goal list. Write down how much weight you want to lose, how much time you’re allowing yourself, and what you plan to do to get there. Be realistic about timing, allowing for enough time to lose the weight. Don’t expect this to happen in the same amount of time it would if you didn’t have a newborn to raise. Instead, plan for double or even triple the time. If you’re able to fit in 15 minutes of exercise a day, without stressing yourself out, this is a great start.

Be prepared

A new baby means new expenses, so after she’s arrived it can be very difficult fitting personal items into your family’s budget. Getting into shape doesn’t require all-new fitness gear, but having workout clothes that fit certainly makes a difference. It’s possible to prepare yourself for a total post-baby body makeover, but you’ll need to be frugal to have it fit into your budget.

You’re going to need the following items:

  • New sneakers since your foot size may have changed due to the pregnancy
  • Comfortable clothing including a good sports bra
  • A water bottle

You may want to invest in a yoga mat, too, if you’re planning to do a lot of floor exercises, like stretching and Pilates. Sneakers tend to be very expensive. You’ll need sneakers designed for working out and that fit very comfortably. To save money, search for online coupons for your favorite workout gear brands. You’ll find that the Internet has some amazing deals!

Timing is everything

Making time for exercise isn’t easy, especially when you’re making personal time around your new baby. Perhaps you only have a single free hour in the day and you haven’t showered or sat down once. That’s no good. You definitely need to do things to help yourself to relax and remain stress free.

Exercise is a proven stress reducer, but it’s not always going to fit into your new-mom schedule. The important thing to remember is that more free time will come around when your child gets older. Make a schedule, wherein you’re not stressing yourself out or leaving free time for much needed relaxation. Even if it’s just for a few minutes in the early morning, fit in some exercise. You can expand on that time as your child grows.

The bottom line

When it comes to your pre-baby weight, you can get there! It’s going to take longer than it would have before you had children, but it’s worth it because you’ll have more energy for the new baby. It may take several months or even a  whole year, but with the right amount of dedication, you will get there. Good luck!

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Book and app review: The Fast Metabolism Diet #FastMetabolismDiet Sun, 28 Apr 2013 12:16:00 +0000 Book and app review: The Fast Metabolism Diet

When SheSpeaks originally sent me an offer to read Haylie Pomroy’s book, The Fast Metabolism Diet: Eat More Food and Lose More Weight and try the diet for a month, I was really gung ho. Rather than counting calories or carbs, The Fast Metabolism Diet teaches you to rotate the foods you eat each week to induce physiological changes in your body to boost your metabolism. Basically, for four weeks in Phases One through Four, on Mondays and Tuesdays, you eat carbs and fruits, on Wednesdays and Thursdays, you consume proteins and veggies, and on Fridays through Sundays you eat all the above plus healthy fats. Many of the foods from lean proteins like fish and buffalo, healthy carbs like quinoa and brown rice, vegetables, and leafy greens were things I ate normally though not in the way Haylie laid out in her book. I could do this, I thought, and was really excited to learn more about it!

The Fast Metabolism Diet not for me – this month

Then I saw how much planning the The Fast Metabolism Diet would take. I had to make sure I had plenty of “my food” on hand and use Haylie’s recipes to feed my family. I didn’t think that would be too hard because we do tend to eat this way at home normally, most of the time. I also didn’t mind giving up alcohol and diet soda for four weeks and drinking lots more water. These were things I knew I should do for optimal health. (By the way, you do the diet for four weeks and then eat normally and healthfully the rest of the time. Some of Haylie’s customers do another month if they want to lose more weight, or they do a “tune up” once a year or even quarterly.)

I also liked her exercise plan. Beginners can do 30 to 40 minutes of cardio during Phase One (or 45 to 75 minutes if you’re already exercising) two  times a week. In Phase Two, beginners do 20 or 30 minutes of weight lifting. During Phase Three, you can indulge in relaxation and stress relief like yoga, meditation, a hot bath, or even a massage! Easy right?

Then I looked at the calendar. I was faced with Spring Break, two business trips, and another shoulder surgery. (The shoulder surgery was canceled, thank goodness, due to my miracle worker of a kinesiologist, Dr. Paul.) There was no way I could follow The Fast Metabolism Diet on the road or while laid up in bed. Also, while I could do cardio on the stationary bike, weight lifting was ruled out due to my shoulder issues. Also, you’re not allowed to have rice vinegar on this diet! As a Mizkan Blogger who has to develop recipes using NAKANO rice vinegar, this was a problem for me, too, though something I could work around by having my family as taste testers.

Frustrated, I begged my contact at SheSpeaks to let me out of our agreement about doing a trial run of the diet. Instead, I offered to do just a book review of The Fast Metabolism Diet on my blog in exchange for the book.

The Fast Metabolism book and app review

Even though I found The Fast Metabolism Diet rather restrictive, if you’re not traveling for a month, are detail oriented, and motivated to lose weight and eat right, I believe you may have good success with this diet. Much of Haylie’s theories about revving up your metabolism by eating the right foods intuitively made sense to me. What especially struck a cord is her belief that you have to make it easy on your liver to process your food and burn fat. We “poison” ourselves with hard to metabolize foods like alcohol, diet soda, and foods with artificial ingredients, so our livers work overtime in breaking them down. If we can give our livers a rest with healthy whole foods, then it will function better and rev up our metabolism to break down fat stored by the body. Haylie claims her diet theories are supported by her work with domestic animals like horses and cattle and by research, though I would have liked to see some footnotes or a bibliography with references to these studies.

I was also confused about the The Fast Metabolism Diet’s meal plan and how much I could eat. There were sample menus in the book, but they were hard to read since they were printed vertically and in very small print in the book. I had looked around The Fast Metabolism Diet website for some printouts to take to the store and to post on my refrigerator door, but didn’t have any luck.

Then last week, my contact at SheSpeaks emailed me about Haylie’s new Fast Metabolism Diet App, which is available on iTunes for $1.99. (I got a complimentary code to download and review it.) The Fast Metabolism Diet App It helps you keep accountable by keeping track of meals and snacks eaten, daily water intake, and ways to stick to the diet even when dining out. It also helps build grocery lists and plan for meals in advance. Finally, a way to make this diet more doable and practical!

Armed with a easy-to-use app, and assuming my shoulder’s in good shape, I’m going to quickly reread the book at the end of May and will start doing The Fast Metabolism Diet in June. Even with the craziness of summer break, I know I’ll be home and will have added incentive of seasonal vegetables and weekly farmer’s markets and warm weather to exercise outdoors to help me lose some weight. I’m looking forward to it!

The information provided within this review is strictly for the purposes of information only and is not a replacement or substitute for professional advice, doctors visit or treatment. The provided content in this post should serve, at most, as a companion to a professional consult. It should under no circumstance replace the advice of your primary care provider. You should always consult your primary care physician prior to starting any new fitness, nutrition or weight loss regime.

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Making healthier choices during the holidays Wed, 23 Nov 2011 14:34:31 +0000 Making healthier choices during the holidays. Learn how at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet -

Are you looking for strategies to survive this holiday season in a healthy way without gaining weight? Rachel Berman, RD, CSR, CD/N, the Director of Nutrition for, has identified some of the unhealthiest holiday foods and has prepared the following list of suggestions for healthy and delicious swaps for holiday beverages, appetizers, desserts, side dishes and more.

Below, Rachel advises that you ditch the unhealthy and dish up better-for-you substitutions. I’ve added a few extra tips to help you enjoy a healthy and delicious Thanksgiving or holiday meal even more!

Non-alcoholic drinks

Ditch it: non-alcoholic eggnog (calories: 343, fat: 19 g for a 1 cup serving)

Dish it: sugar free hot chocolate (calories: 60, fat: 1g for one packet)

Why: Don’t gulp down your calories and fat with eggnog! Research shows we don’t register nutrients the same way from beverages than we would from food. So you’ll probably end up eating close to the same amount at holiday dinner even if you’ve had a couple of eggnogs before. Instead, arm up to a prepackaged sugar free hot cocoa and add some lite whipped cream (15 cal for 2 tablespoons) for a treat post meal.

This Mama’s tip: Try my recipe for Truvia sweetened Exotic Hot Chocolate or serve a Crio Brü, a brewed drink made from roasted 100% cocoa beans

Alcoholic drinks

Ditch it: White Russian (calories: 412, fat: 17 g per 6 ounce serving)

Dish it: “Light” Russian (Calories: 225, Fat: 0g per 6 ounce serving)

Why: Make your own “Light” Russian by subbing fat free milk or half and half for the full fat versions and save on artery clogging saturated fat.

This Mama’s tip: Try using alternative milks like lite coconut, soy or rice milk instead of cow’s milk if you’re avoiding dairy products.

Cold appetizers

Ditch it: cheese and crackers (calories: 306, fat: 16g per 2 ounce and 5 cracker serving)

Dish it: shrimp cocktail (calories: 51, fat: 0.4 g per 5 medium-sized shrimp with cocktail sauce)

Why: Cheese may be a great source of protein and calcium, but the saturated fat content really adds up. Instead, choose a virtually non-fat shrimp cocktail for a light and decadent appetizer.

This Mama’s tip: Forget the shrimp cocktail. Shrimp is awesome on its own with a little lemon or lime juice or flavored vinegars.

Hot appetizers

Ditch it: artichoke dip (calories: 100, fat: 8g per serving of 2 tablespoons)

Dish it: turkey meatballs with Hawaiian sauce (Calories: 65, Fat: 1.4 g per serving)

Why: Artichoke dip can be dangerous because no one eats only 2 tablespoons, plus there are the chips it’s usually served with. Turkey meatballs are a great substitute because they are chockfull of lean protein, pre-portioned, and delicious!

This Mama’s tip: Looking for healthy appetizers? Check out my list of healthy party foods and healthy snacks.

Veggie side dish

Ditch it: green bean casserole (calories: 309, fat: 24.7 per one cup serving)

Dish it: grilled asparagus spears (calories: 84, fat: 5.4 per six spears)

Why: Don’t be fooled by the greenery in the title, green bean casserole with fried onions can be an ominous side dish. Try simply grilled asparagus brushed with olive oil for the benefits of vitamins and minerals, without the excess fat.

This Mama’s tip: Add a little lemon juice, flavored vinegars or a buttery spread to those grilled asparagus. Heavenly!

Potato side dish

Ditch it: scalloped potatoes (calories: 214, fat: 9.8 g fat per 1 cup serving)

Dish it: mashed potatoes (calories: 109, fat: 0.2g per 1 cup serving)

Why: Scalloped potatoes are loaded with calories and fat – so this holiday, opt for mashed potatoes that are seasoned with turkey broth, garlic – and any other fresh spices you like – for a delicious and healthy side dish. Leave the skins on the potatoes for a fiber boost!

This Mama’s tips: Instead of butter and cream, use a buttery spread and no fat evaporated milk or vegetable broth to make your mashed potatoes.


Ditch it: pecan pie (calories: 676, fat: 40.8 g, sugar: 39.4g per 129.5g per serving)

Dish it: pumpkin pie (calories: 161, fat: 4.8g, sugar: 15.2g per 129.5g per serving)

Why: Pecan pie is loaded with sugar, so take pride in serving pumpkin pie! Not only is it a holiday staple, it’s a relatively healthy dessert to serve when made with low fat evaporated milk. Plus, pumpkin is full of beta carotene – an antioxidant that promotes eye health and can help fight against heart disease and certain cancers

This Mama’s tip: Try these healthier pumpkin based desserts:

Coffee shop favorites

Ditch it: peppermint white chocolate mocha with whipped cream (calories: 410, fat: 15g per 12-ounce beverage)

Dish it: pumpkin spiced latte made with skim milk, no whipped cream (Calories: 200, Fat: 0g, per 12-ounce beverage)

Why: Seasonal drinks can be very tempting. But without paying attention, your delicious holiday beverage can be equivalent to the calories in a meal with a significant amount of saturated fat from milk and cream. That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun! Order a pumpkin spiced latte made with skim milk and skip the whipped cream for a nonfat treat with half the calories.

This Mama’s tip: Try my Skinny Pumpkin Latte.

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