Festive, tasty treats are abundant during the holiday season. From rich, steaming coffee drinks at the mall and cookie exchanges at work to family holiday parties with eggnog and homemade desserts, fattening foods are a holiday tradition. They can be hard to resist. Here are some ways you can eat a little smarter this year and still enjoy the season’s bounty.
In order to avoid consuming a massive amount of calories, stick to a small serving of those special, seasonal treats. For example, when you arrive at a party with many food choices, take a look around at which foods can only be found this time of year. High-calorie options like eggnog or peppermint ice cream are often around only during the holidays. Things like crackers and cheese, or chips and dip can be found any time of the year.
Split that piece of pumpkin pie right down the middle and give the other half to a friend or family member. Eat your half slowly and savor every bite. You can even add a dollop of whipped cream without feeling guilty. If you love baking cookies, try to find a place where you can donate a batch or two. Perhaps your elderly neighbor could use some holiday cheer, or bring in a treat to your co-workers.
If you enjoy sampling everything on the menu at dinner, try eating very small, controlled portions. Make sure you serve yourself or give specific instructions to your server. Take a very small amount of foods to try, instead of loading up with a full serving. This means a spoonful of mashed potatoes, a tiny sliver of pie, and two or three small sips of wine. You can, however, load up on plain vegetables and fruits (no, apple pie does not count as eating an apple). You’ll get to sample a wide array of foods, without stuffing yourself.
Your location can have a lot to do with whether you will overindulge at your next holiday function. Don’t park yourself next to the buffet table or bar. Carry around a glass of sparkling water so that you’ll have something to hold instead of snacking. After dinner is done, move to a different room, or clear the dishes away. If food is left out, you may be tempted to have seconds. To aid in digestion, a short, slow walk after a large meal can help you feel less sluggish.
Don’t skip eating your favorite holiday foods. Instead, find ways to make them healthier. There are thousands of recipes online to help you swap high-fat ingredients for lower-calorie ones. This can be as easy as trading whole milk for skim, or using fat-free whipped topping in place of full-fat whipping cream. Next time you’re at the coffee shop, ask for the light version of your favorite holiday drink.
With a little planning, you can successfully maintain your weight and experience the joys of the season fully.
What are your secrets?
Do you have any good tips for indulging intelligently during the holidays? Do share. We'd love to hear them!