People talk about the ‘Freshman 15’ – which is the weight gain associated with starting college -- but what about the ‘Holiday 10?’ I am talking about the potential pounds you can gain from overindulging during holiday celebrations.
From the stuffing and pies at Thanksgiving, to the Christmas cookies and New Year’s Eve buffets and cocktails, the holidays are full of potential land mines designed to sabotage a healthy diet and make you gain weight, all in the name of good fun. The upcoming holidays are a happy season, so don’t spoil the joy you feel by letting the season’s celebrations and festive gatherings ruin your commitment to a healthy diet. A little forethought and some planning will enable you to successfully navigate any temptations you’ll encounter at the next buffet table.
•First and foremost, don’t starve yourself during the day, figuring that doing so will allow you to eat more that evening. Eat a healthy meal before you go out and you will be less likely to be tempted to fill up on unhealthful foods at the event. The ‘just one bite’ rule is too quickly discarded when you’re hungry.
•If you are going to a gathering with food, offer to bring a healthful dish. Then you will know that there is at least one option available for you to eat.
•If you are celebrating at a restaurant, check the menu ahead of time for healthy alternatives or call ahead and ask the restaurant staff for help. Many restaurants are pleased to accommodate customers with a double order of salad, steamed vegetables without butter, oil or salt, or a water-sautéed vegetable stir-fry.
•Remember to eat only when hungry. It is a simple rule that is applicable all the time, but it is often broken when you are away from home and in social situations. It is especially important not to overeat, during the holidays if not eating as perfectly as you usually do.
•If you are hosting, make your gathering more about the fun and less about the food. Make an effort to organize a more memorable event by being creative with fun games and activities that bring people together. Create a jar of conversation starters on pieces of paper and have everyone draw one to answer questions like, “As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?” or “If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?” Have everyone share their most amazing or unbelievable experience, relate a funny story or bring a joke to tell.
•If you will be travelling this holiday season, take along healthy foods such as raw vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds so you don’t have to stress about finding nutritious foods en route to your destination. If you go by car you can pack a cooler and take along bowls, silverware, a can opener and other items to facilitate eating away from home. Then you can buy fresh or frozen vegetables, canned no-salt beans and fruit at a local grocery store in order to create your own healthy meals on the road.
If you plan ahead, there is no need to go off a healthy diet during the holiday season. By strategizing ahead of time, you won’t feel deprived, you will just feel healthy. And, don’t forget to please your friends and love ones with a fantastic Nutritarian dish or desert to demonstrate the goodness of healthy eating. One last tip: Make sure others know about the plan you have for your own health. Most likely they will want to support your efforts. And don’t pass judgment on family and friends when they choose to eat differently. Instead, by being a shining example, you can inspire others to realize the enjoyment of eating healthfully and feeling great. To help you in this cause, here is a delicious and healthy dessert recipe to celebrate your next occasion.