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Maintain Don't Gain: Building a Better Holiday Plate!

By: Kaitlyn Smith/Staff Nutritionist at Southern Therapy Services, Inc.

The holiday season can be a little healthier with these simple tips!
The average person can easily consume thousands of calories at holiday gatherings, but there are a few ways to make it healthier. Knowing which foods to put on your plate and which ones you probably should avoid will help you to sidestep spending the rest of the evening on the couch!

Vegetables as a Starter
Fill up half your plate with vegetables. This will leave a quarter of your plate for turkey or protein and another quarter for those starchy sides. Choose vegetables like green beans, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, green salad, or Brussel sprouts. Go with smaller portions of starchy veggies such as corn potatoes, green peas and winter squash. Also try replacing the green bean casserole with grilled green beans flavored with garlic and red pepper flakes.

Skinless Turkey Breast
Turkey itself is relatively low in calories especially if you choose the skinless white meat. But don't overdo it. About 3 ounces of protein, about the size of your palm, is a respectable portion size!

Sneaky Calories - Watch Out!
Munching on appetizers all day can quickly add calories. Choose to nibble on raw veggies, hummus, or fruit. Drinks also count as calories. Try to limit the wine to one 5 ounce glass.

Portion Control on your Favorites
If you can't bypass the stuffing and gravy, reduce the normal half cup serving size in half. Enjoy the traditional favorites without using up all your calories. With desserts, the trick is to limit your options. Don't sample all the pies. Simply pick your favorite and cut it in half. And don't feel like additional ice cream or whipped topping is a requirement. But if you do add the topping, make it golf ball size.

Enjoy the holidays, and remember that the first couple of bites on any food are the most enjoyable. Savor the flavor and the company!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic


  • 1 Pint Brussel sprouts (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, to coat bottom of pan
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Trim bottom of Brussel sprouts, and slice each in half - top to bottom. Heat oil in cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Put sprouts cut side down in one layer in pan. Add garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cook, undisturbed until sprouts begin to brown on the bottom. Then transfer to the oven. Roast shaking pan every 5 minutes until sprouts are quite brown and tender...about 10-20 minutes

Taste. Add a dash more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Serve hot or warm.


Kaitlyn Smith, Southern Therapy Services, Inc. Nutritionist. Her services include: Fitness & Wellness, Nutrition & Weight Loss, Meal Planning, and Health Education.