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HEALTH & WELLNESS by jeff csatari

Season’s Eatings Smart swaps to help you eat healthy during the holidays.

IF YOU BELIEVE THE Calorie Control Council, you will consume 4,500 calo- ries this Thanksgiving, our national day of gorging. That’s double the daily limit you should eat for good health, or to put it in terms that a Scouter can appreciate, the caloric equivalent of 32 s’mores. Even if you avoid the second helping of pie, you’re not out of the woods. Turkey Day is only the beginning of a long holiday season of overeating that culminates with midnight champagne toasts and pigs in blankets. But you can do your part to stem the tide of obesity engulfing this nation (a rate expected to reach 50 percent in 2030!) by making healthier choices when faced with the all-you- can-stuff-in-your-face holiday buffet.

STEP 1: Eat a high-protein appetizer, such as shrimp or raw almonds, to take the edge off hunger. “Protein slows down the absorption of car- bohydrates (sugars) you eat with it, which evens out the rise and fall of blood sugar and insulin,” says Dr. Florence Comite, a New York City endocrinologist, expert on metabo- lism and author of Keep It Up (Rodale, 2013). Fewer blood-sugar spikes mean less chance of increasing body fat and becoming diabetic. STEP 2: Grab a dinner plate and make the following smart swaps.

Thanksgiving Dinner How you fill your dinner plate can determine whether you go back for seconds and a cornucopia of extra cal- ories. Start by selecting turkey breast

instead of dark meat for a 200-calorie savings. Next, nix the stuffing, which weighs in at 175 calories per serving. You’ll get your carbohydrate fix through a small dinner roll with a pat of butter and, of course, the mashed potatoes and gravy. Avoid the candied sweet potatoes for a 260-calorie savings. Sure, they are rich in beta- carotene (vitamin A), but remember how they’re often made — with a half-cup of butter and about two cups of brown sugar. Steamed green beans are always a better choice than the casserole version of the vegetable made with butter, cream of mush- room soup and crispy, fried onions.

Holiday Shopping Meal Heading to the mall’s food court? Know before you go. If you have a favorite fast-food restaurant, check nutrition information on its website and pick a less calorie-dense choice before you go. For example, at Taco Bell, save more than 500 calories by choosing two Grilled Steak Soft Tacos (200 calories; 80 calories from fat) instead of the Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla (960 calories; 400 calories from fat). Add a side of black beans and you’ll gain belly-filling fiber and protein for just 90 more calories.

Christmas Dinner Prime rib and spiral-sliced honey ham are traditional Christmas dinner favorites. Choose the ham. You can have a double serving and still come in significantly under the 600 calo-

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