Not sure how to approach meals and snacks during the holidays in the face of all those cookies, candies, cakes and treats? Not to mention the parties, buffets and drinks! Relax, and make up your mind that you are going to celebrate deliciously and healthfully while having a good time. My favorite holiday survival tricks will help you do just that.
You’ve probably heard that age-old advice of never going to the grocery store hungry. The same applies to a party! Don’t go too hungry lest you risk leaving your good resolve by the wayside. Rather, drink a lot of water and snack on fresh veggies and air-popped popcorn before you leave.
Plan ahead. If you know you’re going to be indulging later, load up on lighter foods earlier in the day. Try millet or quinoa, wild or brown rice, vegetables, apples, pears or citrus fruit, vegetable or lentil soup, or a winter salad of greens and a sprinkling of chopped dried figs or cranberries.
Eat only what you love. Don’t waste calories on mediocre foods that you really don’t care for. If you can take it or leave it, then leave it!
Savor the flavor and aroma of your food. Take your time and truly enjoy the flavors of your delicious food. It’s better for your health and it’s far more satisfying.
Help yourself to avoid overindulging by moving away from the food once you’ve eaten. Mingle and socialize, sip your drink and enjoy the conversation.
Whether at a buffet or a party, if possible, begin your meal with fruits and vegetables, keeping dips and dressings on the side.
Choose whole grains, like whole grain or multi-grain bread or rolls and wild or brown rice, if offered.
Trim excess fats from meats on your plate.
Go easy on too many nuts or too much cheese.
If a big buffet is in your future, here are some tips to help you navigate:
Choose fresh vegetables and salads to balance the heavy quality of many favorite holiday foods like roast meats, stuffing and dressing, buttery and cheesy potatoes, etc.
If possible, choose olive oil and vinegar or lemon or lime wedges for salad dressing.
Baked, broiled or grilled fish, chicken, turkey or lean meats are a good protein choice.
Shrimp or crab cocktail is refreshing and light.
Hunt for veggies and greens! Steamed or lightly sautéed vegetables and greens such as spinach make a wonderful accompaniment to heavier dishes.
Baked potatoes and rice are good options to pair with vegetables and leaner meats.
If there’s something heavy, sweet or fatty that you really enjoy, choose a smaller portion or split it with someone. Eat slowly and enjoy the flavor.
If you work in an office where donuts, cookies, pastries, sodas and candies are in abundance, don’t be shy about bringing in healthier options. A veggie and hummus platter, a beautiful whole grain salad, some homemade healthier cookies will be much appreciated by others as well. And remember, even if our best intentions don’t come to fruition, it’s no big deal! You can always get back on track with the very next meal.
What are your holiday survival tricks for keeping healthy eating resolutions? Let us know. Every good tip helps!