Smart Eating Tips To Help You Enjoy The Holidays
Most people think about food as one of the staples that make the holidays memorable and enjoyable. There always seem to be an abundance of extra yummy foods and treats available in November and December! Turkey, Dressing, Ham, cookies, candies, and a plethora of sauces and dips to tempt us. In this article we will explore some smart and healthy ways to enjoy the holidays without overdoing it.
According to Greta Macaire, R.D. with the Community Health Resource Center, a recent study found that on average, Americans gain about 1-2 pounds during the holiday season. This might not sound like much, but we tend to not lose those pounds and that means that after a long period of time, say 10 years, they can really add up! In the short term, all the sugar, calories, sodium, and fat that you’ve consumed over the holidays could make for a new wrinkle or two as well as dull skin for the New Year. The good news is that you can follow some simple guidelines that will allow you to have your cake and eat it too!
Here are some tricks and strategies to help you make the most of your holiday eating.
-Eat the best-for-you offerings first. In doing so, you can take the edge off of your appetite and not overindulge in the less-than-best for you foods.
-Stand more than an arm’s length away from munchies. You will eat less if you are not in reach of snacks such as nuts or chips as you mingle and chat, which in turn will leave room for other goodies later.
-Concentrate on your meal while you’re eating it. To enhance your enjoyment of eating, take notice of the things you may typically pay no heed to. Savor the aroma. Enjoy the texture. Feast on the beauty of how your food is presented. Revel in the taste. Research shows that mealtime multi-tasking (whether at home or at a party) can make you mindlessly eat what is in front of you instead of allowing you to become immersed in it! Try to set your food down while engaging in dinner-party conversation until you are finished chatting so that you can be more aware of what you are taking in.
-Take sensible portions so you don’t end up eating too much. For example, try using smaller plates and serving utensils such as a salad plate for your main course and a teaspoon to serve yourself.
In addition to these tips, there are still more ways you can get the most bang for your buck when eating during the holidays. For example, give yourself permission to enjoy your indulgences, but choose them wisely! Rather than wasting calories on foods you can have any time of the year, splurge on items that are truly unique and special to the season, such as candied yams like your grandmother made, or Christmas cookies from a recipe that has been in the family for generations. Also, eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Choose your favorite holiday treats and enjoy them in small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and plunge yourself into the moment!
It is important to be mindful when eating, and the holidays are no exception. Dining in a group can cause a person to eat about 44% more calories than he or she would normally eat when dining alone! Distractions at mealtime often add up to more eating according to Sutter Health CPMC. Mindfulness while eating includes tricks like being the last in line at a buffet. Never underestimate the visual power of food and how it affects your appetite! By being the last in line, the food does not appear as pristine and tempting as it does when you are first in line. Another helpful trick is to never build food towers on your plate! Make it your rule to not stack foods on top of each other (this will help control portion size) and do not make a second trip through the line. One trip, one plate, no tower!
The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends. As suggested by the National Institutes of Health, this time of year doesn’t have to mean overindulgence and weight gain! Focus on a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun to get the most out of these special times and have a sparkling you when the New year rolls around!