Happy Holidays! December – The best month of the year (arguably) since this month marks the full swing of celebrating the winter days with many friends and family. December is the last month of the year capped with holiday celebrations, this includes the many parties, get togethers, & happy hours you will likely be invited to. During these times, it is a good idea to remember holiday eating tips.
With so many gatherings, how does one take control of all the tempting food & drink options around? If you happen to slip into the pattern of starting with a sweet beverage, followed by a couple cookies, then a fried turkey, followed by REPEATING from the start – those calories will add up very quick.
So based on my many years of Holiday festivities, here are a few tips to surviving the holidays with healthy eating habits in mind:
Be Aware of the Setting
The holidays are the best weeks to let loose and really enjoy the finale of the year. With this expectation, it is good practice to be aware of the many parties you will be attending. Before jetting off to the get togethers, it would be good idea to ask yourself a few questions:
- What kind of food & drinks will be served? If you know the menu ahead of time, you can strategically plan out the must-have try items and skip over the less desired treats. Plus-if you know what is being served and much of the food does not sound appealing, you can eat a healthier meal ahead of time (fill up with nutritionally dense calories vs. empty calories).
- Who will be at the party? Is “Billy the Party Guy” going to be there? You might want to stay away from him since he could be feeding you adult beverages all night. Instead, find a friend or guest that is on the same page…if they are at the party more for good conversation vs. heavy food & drink consumption, stay around that person to lower the temptation of mindless eating.
- How long will I be staying at the party? The longer you stay at a get together, the chances of higher calorie intake. Plan ahead if you intend to stay around for the long haul. Visit the snack table less frequently and take less trips to the wet bar.
5 Tips for Surviving Mindless Holiday Eating
- Minimize the Liquid Calories: Egg nog, alcoholic cocktails, & soda pop may pack a lot of unique flavors, but also pack a lot of empty sugar calories. Indulge on a couple drinks, but look for alternatives as well. Water will be your best friend & replace sugary cocktails with liquor on the rocks. MY Tip – I go-to drink is carbonated water as a beverage.
- Portion control: In all likelihood, there will be table(s) of food waiting for guests to eat as much as possible. Hold back on serving too much to yourself…can you eat just 1 cookie instead of 4? Cutting back on portions during multiple holiday parties can literally mean avoiding thousands of unneeded calories. You will need to burn 3,500 calories just lose 1 pound. Ask yourself if going for another snack is worth the exercise later.
- “Healthy” alternatives: That big turkey has a lot of meat! While the dark leg meat is tempting, it also has more saturated fat and calories than white meat. Or during dinner, see if there are options for steamed veggies & salad vs the creamy broccoli casserole. Seek the healthier options, so you know the intake calories will be nutritionally dense.
- Walk Around: With all the eating, you might feel more tired than usual. Instead of taking a cat nap on the couch, try walking around the house or neighborhood. There health benefits to being active, even if for ten minutes. You promote blood flow and will feel more rejuvenated.
- End Mindless Snacking: The snacking occasion is where most of the empty calories will come from. It is human nature to reach for free food if placed in front of us. Say to yourself “even though food is here, I do not have to eat this.” If this helps, keep a visual distance away from the food table. By not being near the food, you may be less likely to consume more food. Keep track of what you are consuming…if you feel consumption is too much, then hold back until later.
In theory – these tips above are helpful, yet when we are enjoying the parties it can be another story. The bottom line is to minimize the empty calories that are in many holiday treats and be aware of how much you are consuming. By applying these tips, New Years Resolutions will be easier to fulfill!