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Trying To 'Eat Clean' During The Holidays? Here's How

Holiday Turkey
Turkey is a good lean option for clean eating, but dietitian Jacie Slocum recommends servings of meat should be no larger than a deck of cards.

What is "clean eating" and how can you keep it up during the holidays? With the Christmas and New Year’s meals still ahead of us, local dietitian Jacie Slocum offers suggestions for those following the clean eating trend.

Reducing or eliminating processed food. Taking out artificial flavorings in food. No GMOs. Going gluten free. Going organic. Cutting out animal products.  All or some of these are part of clean eating — depending on a person’s goals.

"I think the big thing when it comes to clean eating is that we’re trying to get to more of a well-balanced, healthier diet,” says Slocum, a registered dietitian with Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center - Fort Worth. “If we can focus on the whole foods in general — our fruits, our vegetables, our low-fat dairy products, our lean protein sources — then we’re doing pretty good.”

Jacie Slocum’s Suggestions For Clean Eating During The Holidays

Pot Luck Meals:

"Maybe bring a dish that you enjoy. Do some roasted vegetables. Add some fresh herbs. Use a little balsamic vinegar, some almonds. That way, you can dress it up and avoid the creamy, fattier options."

Turkey & Other Meat Options:

"[Turkey's] a leaner option. Maybe go with a skinless version. A lot of that skin has the fat in it. Maybe do a kabob or a shrimp cocktail as an appetizer. As for serving size, you should do the size of a deck of cards. We need the protein, protein is essential, but we don’t need that huge piece that’s going to cover half our plate."

Ways To Modify Sweets:

"Trying to limit refined sugar is key to clean eating. If you’re making some kind of sweet treat, maybe use honey or pure maple syrup instead of refined sugar ... If you have a recipe that yields three dozen cookies, maybe you turn that three dozen into six dozen, making smaller portions and getting a taster as compared to that full-sized cookie."

Don’t Deprive Yourself Of Sweets:

The problem is that you want more. It’s better to have a little bit and be done with it. Enjoy it. Savor every bite of it. That’s better than having that guilt hanging over you, especially over the holidays.

Limit Alcohol:

If you’re going to have that sweet cocktail, try to limit yourself to only one. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. You could even do sparkling water and add a bit of lemon, cranberries or orange slices to it to dress it up, but you’re still drinking water.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                


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Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.