It may be called the Christmas Season, or the Holiday Season, but I think it really is the Eating Season! More than any other time of the year, food seems to be a focus for the next 6 weeks. Here are some ideas that have helped me to keep eating healthy (mostly!) during the holiday season.
#1. Drink water. Healthy Holidays start with getting plenty of water, especially at parties. You can save a ton of calories this way! At the bar order sparkling water with a twist of lime. Or, for a festive touch, have sparkling water with a dash of cranberry juice.
#2. Eat light and healthy the meals before and after the party. I like plain yogurt and fruit, or maybe a cup of clear soup. Some people prefer to fill up on carrots and celery before a party. Not me! I like to arrive at the party hungry and short on my days’ calories. I am there to enjoy myself!
#3. Take some of everything, but don’t let the food touch on your plate. Keep those mashed potatoes away from the cranberry sauce! At most holiday meals there are so many different items to choose from, and they are all good! Take just a tiny amount of each. You should end up with a plate that is full, but not overloaded.
#4. Eat your food slowly. I promise, it is not going to run away! Enjoy the company you are with. Drink more water. Enjoy your food. Try to be the last one to finish.
#4. Have seconds! That’s right. Go ahead and have seconds….of just one thing. Whatever you love the most go back and get a small second helping. (Small is no more than 1/2 cup, about what you can hold in your cupped palm). You don’t want to feel deprived!
#5. Don’t skip desert. It is my personal belief that if you skip desert you will feel deprived. Then one day your will power will crack and you will go crazy trying to make up for all those deserts you missed! By the time desert comes around you’re probably already pretty full, so go for the smallest desert portion possible. Eat slowly and really enjoy it! Then, if you want to feel like a saint, try to leave just one bite on the plate, even if it’s cheesecake!
#6. Encourage everyone to go for a walk after dinner. Many people really enjoy walking with friends after dinner, but are reluctant to suggest it. Get your friends and family off the couch and out the door! They will thank you for it!
#7. Avoid rich and sweet foods on the days you are not going to a holiday event. Because you are not depriving yourself at parties, it should be easier to make sure you are eating super healthy the rest of the time. Avoid sugar and artificial ingredients. Keep drinking your water, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
Next time I’ll share with you the healthy changes I have made to some holiday favorites.