By Dr. Jessica Wu
Holiday season is in full swing, which means lots of tempting food at home, at work, and at parties. I’m usually pretty disciplined, but I admit, it’s hard to resist the fresh-baked goodies that my wonderful patients deliver to my office. Here’s how to indulge without paying the price with your face or your figure:
#1 Watch your liquid calories.
Creamy eggnog and hot chocolate with marshmallows definitely hit the spot when it’s cold outside, but they pack loads of calories and are full of dairy, which can aggravate breakouts. A better choice: mulled cider or hot tea with soy or almond milk. My new favorite is Hot Cinnamon Spice tea by Caribou Coffee, which I recently discovered in Denver. It’s a delicious blend of black tea, three types of cinnamon, orange peel, and sweet cloves, and tastes like Christmas in a cup (with zero calories).
#2 Go easy on the sides.
Stuffing, mashed potatoes, and other creamy sides are high in carbs and have hidden butter and cream. Instead, go for green and yellow veggies (such as squash and yellow peppers), which are associated with fewer wrinkles, especially crow’s-feet around the eyes. If you’re cooking, leave the skin on mashed potatoes, use coconut milk instead of cow’s milk; and go easy on the butter.
#3 Pair your starches with protein and healthy fats.
Starches raise your blood sugar, which can worsen acne, wrinkles, and rashes, as well as arthritis and autoimmune conditions. Protein and fat help keep blood sugar levels stable. Protein is also essential for fighting wrinkles and sagging, since collagen (keeps your skin thick & strong) and elastic tissue (helps your skin bounce back) are both made of protein. Make sure your plate has some turkey, chicken, fish, or grass fed beef to balance out the starches.
#4 Save your sweet treats for the end of the day.
If someone invites you to a holiday brunch, steer clear of the pancakes, French Toast, and muffins, and go for the eggs and fruit. This keeps your blood sugar more stable for the rest of the day. Better to eat well all day, then reward yourself with dessert after dinner.
#5 Go ahead — have dessert!
Depriving yourself will make you crave it more, and you may offend your hosts if you refuse to try their homebaked creation. Take one small piece, and choose wisely. Pumpkin pie (with fiber and vitamin A) is better than cake and cookies. If you have acne, avoid cheesecake and whipped cream. If you’re hosting, serve delicious and easy-to-make cocoa roasted almonds as a healthy snack. Or, serve pumpkin pie pudding in pretty goblets so you can skip the crust.
Try this cocoa roasted almonds recipe created by food blogger, Chelsey Siegers at Clean Eating Chelsey.
About the Expert Jessica Wu, MD is a board certified dermatologist practicing in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of Feed Your Face. Visit her site at www.drjessicawu.com and follow her on Twitter @drjessicawu