Eating Healthy in the Holidays

posted in: Nutrition

There you are, sitting at the table, taking in all the sights and smells of the smorgasbord of delicious and enticing holiday foods lying before you. Chicken, ham, your aunt’s famous casserole, creamy mashed potatoes, 7-layer salads, and piping hot dinner rolls with melted butter.

Before your brain can even comprehend your countless choices, you see the dessert table, full of pavlovas, biscuits, cakes and jelly. And before you can even take your first heaping helping of mashed potatoes, that voice inside, that at times nagging little voice pipes up. “You’d better watch what you eat!” “Might as well just put that piece of cake right on your hips, that’s where it’s going to end up anyway.” And, “Well, there goes your diet!”

How to Manage Holiday Eating Temptation

And then you feel bad, almost guilty about the thought of enjoying the wonderful food, made with love for loved ones. But fear not, there are ways to quiet that little voice. Here are several.

1. First thing – control what you can control. Eat a healthy breakfast and light lunch, like a cup of soup and a salad before the holiday meal. That will take the edge off so you won’t be starving when you get to the table.

2. Take smaller portions that you normally would. Also, eat slowly and savour each and every bite. Don’t put more than one spoonful in your mouth at any given time and set your fork/spoon down while you savour the flavors of the delicious foods you are tasting.

3. Take only those things you can’t normally have. If you can regularly have potatoes and gravy or buttered rolls, pass them up and enjoy some of the other scrumptious foods you can only have here and now.

4. Remember, a salad is a wonderful addition to any meal. It’s also a great way to super-charge your meal with plenty of nutritious and filling foods.

5. Chew each mouthful of food thoroughly. Take in all the flavors and textures of the food you are eating.

6. Spend a lot of time talking at the table. This will give you time to properly digest – and everyone knows it’s not polite to talk with your mouth full!

7. Have dessert only if you really have room at that time. You may find that you will enjoy your desert more if you wait an hour or two. When you do have dessert, have a small piece, sit down and enjoy it. Desserts are more for leaving a good taste in your mouth and to finish off a delicious meal. Yhey are not supposed to be a main course.

Always remember the holidays are more than just the food – take in the company of those around you and share your experiences as well as your recipes. And don’t forget, no one becomes overweight on one holiday meal. It’s what you do the day after and the entire year that will make a difference.

Holidays are a time for tradition and family gatherings. And if everyone takes the time to enjoy that, then the food is not as important, and we can do with less.