request info email to friend
Eating Sensibly Over the Holidays
The great American season of overeating starts around Halloween – leftover trick or treats, anyone? It kicks into high gear around Thanksgiving. And it can end in guilt after the new year.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are strategies that can help you enjoy the season’s tasty treats while still being sensible. For example:
Don’t skip meals. It is a fact that people who eat a sensible breakfast are more likely to eat sensibly throughout the day. And having a healthy small meal or snack beforehand can make it easier for you to make good food choices when you hit that holiday dinner or party.
Provide healthy choices. If you are hosting, make sure to include some delicious lower-fat, lower-calorie foods. And if you are bringing a dish, consider something that is tasty without being unhealthy.
Check out all your options. Whether you are at a buffet or a sit-down meal, look at all your choices before you pick what you want to eat. Don’t fill up on foods you don’t really like just because they are in front of you.
Choose at least some healthy foods. Carrot sticks rather than cookies and shrimp rather than cheese puffs – you know the drill.
Stand away from the appetizers. Choose a few appetizers, and then move with your plate to someplace where you cannot easily reach out for more. The idea is to avoid mindless eating. If you have to think about it, you are less likely to eat too much of food that is not good for you.
Eat slowly. Take time to enjoy what you are eating. Take a couple of bites, then take a few minutes to consider whether you really want any more. If not, stop.
Drink a lot of water. Water fills you up, and it also helps your digestive system run smoothly – which can be particularly important if you are eating a lot of rich food. Taking a drink of water also forces you to stop eating for a moment. And that might give you a chance to reflect on whether you have had enough.
Watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol is an intrinsic part of many holiday events; think wine at Thanksgiving, eggnog with caroling and champagne on New Year’s Eve. But alcohol is mostly empty calories. And it can cause you to do things that you might regret. So drink intelligently. Add some seltzer to your wine to make a spritzer. Have a glass of water between alcoholic drinks. And avoid high-fat choices like eggnog.
Don’t forget your workout. Although you almost certainly will have a busier social schedule than usual, try to make time to work out. It’s great if you can get to the gym regularly. But even a brisk walk around the block after dinner is a good thing.
Don’t feel guilty. You don’t have to deprive yourself of all the foods you love at this time of year, and you don’t have to insult your Aunt Mary by turning down her sugar cookies. Relax and enjoy. Just take a moment to think about the choices you make, and save your indulgences for foods you really want.