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Holidays and Healthy Eating…Are They Compatible?

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One of the paramount holiday traditions is the celebration centered on food. It is a time we seem to outdo ourselves when it comes to food preparation… not just large, elaborate meals but a smorgasbord at numerous parties and events. So how can you resist temptation to partake in excess or completely ignore good dietary habits?

Here are some ideas from various sources and one or two may inspire you to avoid holiday binging:

  • Remember, the holiday season should be enjoyable, and fine food is one of the pleasures of the season. Instead of depriving yourself, allow yourself to indulge in foods that make your holiday season meaningful. Enjoy your favorites in small amounts, and try to cut back in other ways. And make an effort to keep your exercise schedule on track
  • Survey the entire table before you take any food. Decide what foods are worth eating and what can be ignored, and then stick to that decision. Why waste calories on foods that don’t bring you pleasure?
  • Eat a snack before you leave home. If you arrive at a party starving, you’ll be more likely to overindulge.
  • Eat your calories instead of drinking them. Stick to lower calorie or calorie-free drinks (diet sodas, water, light beer, or wine spritzer) instead of punches, eggnogs, and mixed drinks with up to 500 calories per cup.
  • When you are the host or hostess, include nutritious and lower-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables and lean meats on the menu. When you are a guest, bring along a lower-calorie dish to share.
  • Try not to hang out near the food. Find a comfortable spot across the room and focus on people instead of eating.
  • Watch your portion sizes. Don’t cover your plate completely with food. In most cases, especially when it comes to holiday sweets and alcoholic beverages, less is better.
  • Drop out of the "clean plate club". Leave a few bites behind every time you eat, especially if you are eating something you don’t really like.
  • Enjoy your favorite holiday treats but take a small portion, eat slowly, and savor the taste and texture of the wonderful foods of the season.

And finally, I remind myself of how I usually feel following uncontrolled, excessive intake of sweets or portions of food…miserable. Is it really worth it to give in to short-term enjoyment only to diminish the pleasure of the rest of the celebration? I think not.

Happy Holidays from Bethany Village!

Written by Bethany Village

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