It’s that time of year again.
While most people use the holidays as an excuse to become gluttonous, ravenous beasts, it’s really pretty disgusting. We only have one body- why do we repeatedly treat it like crap?! I know, I know. Food tastes good. And many people feel rather entitled to these displays of grandiose gorging and overindulgence. “It’s the holidays. I’m suppose to eat like a pig.” The thing is, doing so makes you look like crap AND feel like crap.
Does this sound crappy to you? Then abide by the following tips. I have a little secret to share with you too- food can actually taste good AND make you look and feel good! Spread the word!
Healthy Holiday Eating Tips
- Don’t go to a party on an empty stomach. You’ll be tempted by… pretty much everything. If this isn’t realistic, then be sure to drink lots of water to trick your stomach into thinking you’re not hungry.
- Scope the appetizer table for the healthiest foods, i.e. vegetable trays, hummus, smoked salmon, guacamole, kabobs, sushi, salad, etc., before picking up a plate and go for them first. On that note, use a small plate always (even non-holiday times) to maintain portion control.
- Chew your food slowly and enjoy every bite. It takes the brain 20 minutes to get the message from the stomach that it’s full, so the slower the better!
- Allow yourself a “splurge” meal and dessert 1-2x/week so you don’t feel deprived. It’s especially tough during the holiday season to see everyone enjoying cookies and cake- you want to get in on the fun too! And that’s ok… IN MODERATION!
- Bring healthy options, such as vegetable trays and salads, to holiday parties.
- Drink a glass of water between alcoholic drinks, both to lessen the load on your liver and to rehydrate. Plus, you’ll likely drink less because more time will be spent consuming water.
- Treat the appetizer table like it’s a snake about to bite you. Stay away, stay far, far away.
- Though I’m not a huge fan of gum due to their artificial ingredients, it can be really helpful at assuaging one’s hunger. Chew it while cooking dinner to avoid nibbling and tasting everything. OR, better yet, chop up some raw veggies and chomp on those.
- Don’t starve all day so you can rationalize indulging at a holiday party at night, as many people do. If no food is eaten throughout the day, the blood sugar drops, leading to intense cravings and complete loss of control. You will definitely overeat if you starve yourself. Not to mention completely shut down your metabolism.
- Walk after large meals. Hell, walk whenever you feel like it. You need to move frequently to keep your body at its appropriate weight.
- Are you an emotional eater? Take control! Write out a list of reasons you think you are prone to overeating and using food as a crutch. Be honest with yourself. By doing so, you’re making it apparent what isn’t working for you in your life at this moment. Then fix it. Yes, this is much easier said than done, but every day is a new day that brings with it new opportunities for self-improvement. Stop making excuses and just do it.
- Think about how horrible you feel the morning after a food binge. If you never want to feel that way again, then stop doing it to yourself! Again, this is another “easier said than done” situation… you probably won’t be able to break this cycle overnight, but with time, diligence, and introspection- it IS possible. Believe me, I know from extensive personal experience.
- Make healthy desserts made with whole food ingredients, such as raw brownies, coconut cake, and chocolate walnut fudge. The great thing about these types of desserts is that they satisfy the sweet tooth without messing with brain signals and hormones, as white sugar laden and/or artificially flavored desserts are able to do, causing us to eat them well past the point of satiety.
- Only eat foods you REALLY like. You don’t want to waste the calories on so-so junk food.
Holidays don’t have to ruin your waistline OR your health. Think of these last couple months of the year as a great time to socialize with the ones you love, not as an opportunity to rationalize eating way too much food. Being a member of the “Clean Plate Club” is ridiculously overrated. AND IT’S MAKING US GAIN WEIGHT. We, as a culture, need to change our mind frame about what’s really important over the holidays. Hint Hint: It’s not all about food.