The holiday season is upon us! Food is an important part of our culture and get-togethers, but they don’t need to totally derail the efforts we have made to become healthier. Here are a few tips and tricks to help navigate the festivities.
- Make sure you don’t go to parties starving. While it is tempting to save up for a party, it is dangerous to go in extra hungry. We tend to overeat in a short period of time when we are hungry. Drinking water, having some soup or something light (preferably high in protein with some fat, not carbs) before going out can actually SAVE you from over indulging.
- Bring something healthy. If you are invited somewhere, prepare one of your favorite healthy items or if you’re in a pinch, bring a veggie tray. This ensures you have some things to enjoy. If you are hosting, make some of your new favorites to have everyone try!
- Be deliberate with your food choices. Don’t just grab things and eat mindlessly. Take a look at what is available. Take your time. Think about what looks good. Think about if it is something that may make you not feel so good. Is it worth it?? Is that cake that Aunt Sally makes really good? Or are you just eating out of habit? If you take something, and you don’t like it, don’t eat it! Sounds like common sense, but don’t feel an obligation to eat.
- DO NOT play the MARTYR. Nobody wants to hear you talk about what you “can’t” eat. First of all, it is a buzz kill. Secondly, you can eat anything you want, it is what you CHOOSE to eat or not. Thirdly, no one really cares or will notice unless you say something.
- Don’t feel “forced” to eat. If you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, tell them how much you would love to take some home. Gush over Aunt Sally and how wonderful the cake is and what a treat it will be later.
- Don’t pick! There are many studies that show how much MORE people eat when they are picking instead of eating a meal. Enough said.
- Focus on the people, conversations, and entertainment. Food is an important aspect of gathering..it’s just not the main reason you get together. No one on their deathbed said how much they are going to miss Aunt Sally’s cake. Enjoy the conversations, people watch, and soak in the ambiance.
- Don’t give into peer pressure. As you make healthy choices, those around you may feel threatened. DON’T give into peer pressure eating. Misery loves company. The only reason you should indulge is because it is what YOU have decided.
- Enjoy treats. If you DECIDE to have something special, ENJOY every single bite without regret! If you regret it, that negates the pleasure you should derive from the treat. Who needs that!
- Be wary of too much alcohol. As we all know, alcohol reduces inhibitions and can lead to mindless eating and the “live in the moment” attitude. However, sipping on a glass of wine or drink can be amazing. Lots of flavor “bang” for your buck. Thoroughly savor every sip.
- Get back on track as soon as possible after over-indulging. Don’t make a single indulgence turn into a bad meal, a bad day, bad weekend etc. Sometimes eating something healthy after the treat can reset your brain back to the healthier mentality. Celery is a go to for me. There’s something about that crisp juicy crunch that signals my brain that we are back to eating good stuff.
Lauren L Walmer B.S, M.Ed
Blue Mountain Wellness