March 15, 2013
The holiday season is upon us and with it are more opportunities for socializing, eating, and drinking. It can be a difficult time of year for many of us to resist the temptation to indulge in all the “goodies” that are presented to us.
To resist from straying from a healthy diet is best to develop a holiday time strategy. Having a plan in place will allow one to manage the many nights of holiday eating and drinking festivities.
“Think of your appetite as an expense account, and figure out how much you want to spend on drinks, appetizers, entrees, and dessert,” advises Michelle May, MD, author of Am I Hungry? What to Do When Diets Don’t Work. She suggests giving yourself permission to enjoy your favorite foods — in sensible portions.
To get through the holiday party season without adding on pounds the following are excellent suggestions:
1. Reduce the trimmings. To decrease calories, go easy when adding nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream – these types of trimmings don’t add much nutritional to the meal, but they can increase your waistline. Reduce calories wherever you can so you leave the party event feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.
2. Wear clothes that are tight fitting. You will be less likely to overeat if you feel like your clothes are snug. In addition, keep a glass in your dominant hand as this will make it difficult to grab and snack on food.
3. Chewing gum will help you avoid popping food into your mouth while cooking and lessen the desire to load up the plate when at a buffet.
4. Be very selective about which foods you will consume. At a buffet scan for unique food dishes that you normally don’t eat during the year. Don’t take food that is common available throughout the year. Also don’t feel that you have to sample every item. Treasure the unique food dishes by slowly eating and savoring each bite.
5. Do not skip meals. Start the day with a nourishing breakfast, light lunch, and a small snack or salad before the big dinner event. If you try to save calories by skipping meals it is most likely you will more than likely make up for it during the party meal.
6. Upon arriving at a party start with a glass of soda water and wait 30 minutes before eating anything. Study all the foods during the half hour and decide carefully what you want to consume. This will help you resist the temptation to immediately dig in to the dishes.
7. Don’t focus on food. Instead think about fun activities and games. Consider ice skating, badminton, or games like charades. Dancing is a great way to burn of calories so why not add dancing as a mandatory tradition to one’s party event.
8. Decrease alcohol consumption by alternating between water or seltzer and alcoholic beverages.
9. Skip the appetizers. If you need something to eat before the main meal then stick to healthy choices such as vegetables for fruit.
10. When visiting a buffet line, limit the number of items. Take only two item at each visit to the buffet. If there is a variety of food items on one’s plate it will stimulate the appetite and result in eating more. With only two items per plate it will become much easier to control the food intake as compared to having 20 different foods on a plate.
Holidays are a precious time of year to spend with family, friends, and co-workers. If you do overeat it is best not to take it too seriously. Strive to do a better job of managing our diet at your next holiday event.