It’s holiday season and the parties or family gatherings are plentiful. We all need to watch our habits during this time of year to keep ourselves healthy and balanced. Below are a few tips I’ve learned through the years. I hope they help you too.
1. Even though you are going to a party or event that will have plenty of food, resist the temptation to arrive on an empty stomach. As tempting as it is to skip lunch so you can splurge on dessert, don’t. Have a healthy snack, vegetables, hummus, fruit, a hearty salad, a handful of nuts, or Greek yogurt before you arrive. Showing up famished may cause you to overeat, thus consuming more calories than you would if you went with a not so empty belly.
2. Bring a healthy dish. Not only will your host appreciate the help, you will have at least one healthy menu option to keep you full and feeling good about your choices.
3. Avoid the snacks. Save yourself (and your calories) for the main meal. Often, it’s better not to even start snacking, as sweet or salty snacks are easy to reach for repetitively. But, if you start and need help stopping: move away from the temptation by leaving the buffet table or move the bowl of goodies to another table away from you.
4. Keep it small: the portions, that is. Moderation is key. Selecting small plates and utensils can help in this. If you really crave a decadent treat, treat yourself to a small serving just before you leave. This way, you are not tempted to have another.
5. Mindful eating. Eat slowly and chew your food. Put your utensils down between bites. Enjoy the taste of your food. Our brain needs 20 minutes to realize we are full. By eating slowly, you will give your brain time to catch up to the fullness of your stomach, hopefully avoiding over eating.
6. Take it easy on the alcohol. Alcohol is high in calories and has nearly no nutrients. Often at parties or in groups of people we tend to use our drink as a security blanket. This is normal and many would feel odd with empty hands. Try any of the following strategies to help limit alcohol intake:
· cutting your alcoholic drink with soda water
· opting for half shots
· alternating alcoholic drinks with glasses or water or sparkling water
· look for light beer or “skinny” drink options
Happy, healthy holidays and party season to you!