Debra Loder, RDN
Tis the season for family, friends, festivity, and food—lots of food. Temptations are everywhere and it goes on for weeks. Beginning with bags and bowls of candy and other treats on Halloween, then the traditional Thanksgiving Feast, followed by weeks of office parties and family gatherings leading up to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Years’.
So, how do you stick to the healthy meal plan that you have worked so hard to maintain while everyone around you seems to be indulging? Here are a few tips that can help:
1. Have a Plan:
• Going to a party? Don’t go hungry. Eat a healthy snack at home so that you don’t arrive famished making it harder to not overeat.
• Offer to bring a healthy dish to the family dinner.
• Don’t skip meals to “save up” for the Holiday feast. Eat at your regular times to prevent hunger that can lead to overeating.
• Make room for your Holiday favorites. No food is off limits. Take a small portion of your favorites and savor every bite.
• If you plan to drink alcohol, do so wisely. Alternate alcoholic beverages with a glass of water or club soda. Alcoholic beverages are not only high in calories, but alcohol can also stimulate your appetite and lessen your ability to control what you eat.
2. Be Buffet Savvy:
• If possible, choose a smaller plate, you’ll be less likely to take large portions.
• Survey the buffet offerings before filling your plate.
• Fill half your plate with salad, veggies, and fruit.
• Take small portions of the foods you love. Sometimes a bite or two is all it takes to cure your craving.
3. Practice Mindfulness:
• Eat slowly and with purpose. Savor every bite.
• Ask yourself if you are really hungry before going back for seconds. It takes several minutes for your stomach to send the “I’m full” signal to your brain.
• When you do go back for seconds, take a small portion.
• Put your fork down between bites and take sips of water often. This will help you eat slowly and mindfully.
• At a party, don’t stand next to the food table. Being close to a table of tasty treats can lead to mindless nibbling.
4. Don’t forget about exercise and sleep:
• Being active can help manage your stress during this stressful time of the year.
• Take a family walk after a holiday meal.
• Make sure to get your zzz’s. Being sleep deprived can lead to mindless eating.
And, finally, remember what the holidays are about. Although tasty food is an integral part of the celebration, what really matters is celebrating and connecting with the people you love. Focus of fun, laughter, friends, family, and cheer which will make it easier to focus less on the food.