by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Holiday foods are no longer a distance away. Here’s how to enjoy holiday festivities without sacrificing healthy habits!
The foods we craved all season are upon us. No longer are they a whiff of deliciousness passed by in a rush to working, shopping, and decorating. Holidays are in full swing. Parties, dinners, and events fill our time and threaten our healthy habits. Take these tips to the dinner table and the cocktail lounge.
Before You Dine
- Eat small healthy foods throughout the day. Be sure your choices are packed with nutrients, not calories. Combat those treats you will enjoy later. Do not skip meals in an attempt to save up for festivities. This often leads to overindulgence when we arrive excessively hungry (not to mention grouchy from low blood sugar).
- Drink plenty of water. Party foods are usually high in sodium. Alcoholic drinks dehydrate. Plan ahead by staying hydrated.
- Make time for exercise, especially on food-frenzy days. Boost your metabolism and energy level to more easily burn off those extras. With this healthy habit accomplished, you’ll likely reduce cravings for high-fat foods as well. If you are the host, you may need to be creative. Work out in 10-minute, high-intensity intervals.
- Dress for success. Wear clothing that helps you feel confident. A positive self-image makes healthy choices easier. Christmas dinner is not the time to wear elastic waistbands and baggy clothes. Instead, wear a belt or fitted attire. You worked hard to get toned. Remind yourself of that with your appearance. When you’ve had enough, form-fitting clothes also can remind you.
While You Are There
Enjoy everything from a sit-down dinner to mingling at a reception by setting limits in advance.
- Cocktail parties can be the worst diet offenders. Continuous grazing is easily done, especially when inhibitions are sipped away with a flow of cocktails. The food itself is often high-fat, high-sodium morsels. Theses bite-sized nibbles grabbed at random leave you unaware of how much you consume.
- Decide your limits in advance, including drinks, appetizers, main courses, and desserts.
- Pick one or two splurges. This is not the time to feel deprived. It will be easier to decline mashed potatoes when you know your indulgence is being saved for a slice of pumpkin pie. Make these splurges unique to the season for an extra special treat. You can have whipped cream anytime, but Grandma’s homemade rugula may only come once a year.
- Position yourself near fruit and veggie platters. They are healthy fillers, which also help hydration. Pastry-wrapped and breaded meats on toothpicks can add up quickly to an entire meal’s worth of calories.
- Share a dessert plate. You even can sample a variety when sweets are split with others.
- Work the room. Holiday food is festive, but so is the atmosphere. Don’t settle in a chair for the evening. Mingle with friends and family. Be the life of the party. You can’t overeat if you are busy socializing.
- Offer to help clean up. Doing dishes, vacuuming, and breaking down tables and chairs help burn off the meal. Your efforts also make you a popular guest with the host, assuring future invitations.
When It’s Over
After the festivities finish, perk up mind and body with a breath of fresh air. Take in the nighttime sky, breathe deeply, stretch, and enjoy a short walk. Be proud of all your healthy accomplishments this past year. If you lost the battle this time, despite best efforts, tomorrow is a new chance, soon to be followed by a whole new year of opportunities.
“You never fail until you stop trying.” –Albert Einstein
Running Santa: flickr.com/photos/28990363@N05/5280857437/
Starry sky: flickr.com/photos/duncanjohnston/5091187326/