Healthy eating strategies for holiday hedonism

It’s that time of year – whether you face it with humbug or lots of cheer; it’s here. Holidays are celebrated with food and spirits all over the world – not just by us pilgrims.

From now through the first weeks of January, It’s hard to escape the bombardment of holiday party invites and obligations. (Of course, not everybody wants to escape the holiday hedonism.) But we’re all faced with the temptation to over indulge. Today, I’m going to provide some strategies to help keep you on track for holidays. You get to join in all the reindeer games, without the guilt or the dreaded weight gain.

As a life-long chocolate addict, the “holiday eating challenge” officially begins with Halloween for me. The temptation  is to consciously or unconsciously over buy for my trick or treaters so I can devour the leftovers. This year, I got smart and did myself and the kids a favor, I bought gummy “candy” chocked full of vitamin C and real fruit juice. I knew I wouldn’t eat them all before the 1st kid reached my door because it doesn’t trigger eat it all at once compulsive, chocolate eating reflex. You can apply this strategy when you bring a dish to a party. Instead of slaving over that super rich desert that you make 2 of 1 for the party, 1 for home, bring something nutritious, quick and easy that involves fruit or veggies – edamane, a festive berry dessert, colorful bruschetta, or basil, mozzarella cheese and tomato skewers. With the time you save, reward yourself with a bubble bath. It’s much better than that last-minute cooking scramble.

Healthy holiday eating strategies

  • When you eat, sit down and savor each bite (rushed distracted eating promotes overeating)
  • Don’t feel pressured to eat food gifts

-Take it home or to work & share

– Make it one less thing on your “to-do” list – re-gift it

  • Never go to a party hungry

– Stay on your normal eating schedule

– Drink a couple of glasses of water and have a healthy snack prior

  • Scope out the options before taking a plate

– Choose  what you’d most enjoy

– Take tiny portions and small bites

– Get recipes and “to-go”plates if you feel pressured by the host/ess

– Limit or avoid alcohol

These empty calories can lead to more over indulgence.

  • Socialize – that’s the point of a party, right? If tempted to over indulge take a breath & talk to someone instead
  • Distract yourself and delay the impulse to over indulge – often works. Good Morning America’s Torry Johnson used delay and distract  strategies like polishing her nails to cure her cravings and lose 60 lbs.
  • Chew Gum: You can’t chew gum and eat or drink alcohol at the same time.
  • Create New Holiday Traditions: Enter the family in an organized activities like turkey trots, jingle walks or just do your own hike, bike, tennis game, walk around the block, play with the grandkids (not video games), etc…
  • Add more exercise, relieve holiday stress & burn those extra calories.Relatives driving you crazy? Escape outside or to the gym!
  • Give yourself the gift of forgiveness – if you do over indulge, tomorrow is another day to do better

Whatever you do – make it healthy, happy, active and fun.

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