Tips on Maintaining Good Eating Habits Through the Holidays
We are coming up on a season filled with celebrations. There are the indulgent holiday festivities, the office parties, the big family gatherings, the happy hours…and all seem to involve food! Not just food, but buffets, family recipes, comfort foods, baked goods…seemingly endless rounds of food! So, how can you successfully–and healthfully–navigate it all?
For starters, let’s look at some of the common pitfalls.
1) If you thought high school was tough, no amount of peer pressure from 10th grade can stack up to your grandmother’s guilt trip over skipping a second portion of her homemade macaroni and cheese. Feeding people is how many families show one another love, so this is a tricky one to navigate. Establish a plan ahead of time, including reminding your grandmother how much you love and appreciate her, and then go ahead and follow your plan – be it a small sample of everything, avoiding known intolerances, or bringing your own item to share.
2) “It’s been a long year, so don’t you deserve this?” Try a mental calculation of how many times you have said this one when eyeing (and justifying) a buffet or other indulgent meal. To that question I would say, of course you do! You, darling, deserve the sun, moon and stars, so that Mississippi Mud Pie is a drop in your bucket! But wait! Don’t you also deserve to be your happiest, healthiest you? Don’t you deserve to be confident, and in control of your health and your life? Don’t you deserve the lower A1C and cholesterol that comes with putting your health first? Ask yourself those questions. I’m guessing they’ll end with a mike drop and a sensible, balanced plate, with just a sliver of the Mud Pie at the end of the most important celebrations.
3) Dietary restrictions and allergies can seem like they force you to sit in the corner and nibble on pieces of cardboard – not so! The holidays are a great time to try new recipes, explore new cookbooks, and sample new tastes. Pinterest and Google are full of delicious ideas and inspiration, no matter how complex your list of restrictions may seem. Most importantly, ALWAYS show up to holiday celebrations prepared with something you can eat and you WANT to eat (i.e. don’t show up to a cookie exchange with a hard-boiled egg…not that I’ve done this myself…).
4) Two words: Get. Moving! Taking a brisk walk, enjoying a spinning class with friends, or finding some alone time at the yoga studio between family commitments will increase your feel-good endorphins, boost your metabolism, and help keep your body and mind in tip-top shape – all helpful for making health-promoting choices and remembering that you are so very worth it.