Are You in Holiday Survival Mode?

Come to Holiday Events With a Plan of Action.
If you are a guest, bring a healthy dish that you will enjoy. Scan the buffet table before you serve yourself. Figure out what it is that you truly crave and select the best one over similarly richly cooked items. Is it mashed potatoes, that fabulous zucchini casserole with all that butter and sour cream or stuffed shells that you would really like to have? For me, its cheese pierogies that mama used to make. If you have more than one favorite and you must sample, then select a small portion – say three bites. Perhaps layer on a rule of eating salad first, or no desert until you have eaten your salad if your habit is to eat it last.

Similarly, if its desert that we are talking about check out all the deserts offerings first, pause, think, then choose. Again, if you are being hosted, make a dessert that you know will be your go to treat. Your hostess will love you for helping out with the meal and you get to leave the leftovers. For me, a raw coconut cake trumps cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and cookies every time. If you have to try more than one desert, restrict your serving to 1½ bites. When eating the dessert, do you really need to have sugar in your coffee? I find that I don’t.

Practice Mindful Eating.
Enjoy the taste, texture, smell, and visual appeal of each item you selected. Envision how it was made. Ask yourself what this particular food means to you. Cheese pierogies make me think of my childhood and polish heritage. I serve them to honor my mom and my memories of us at the kitchen counter with a mound of flour, egg and salt, (which incidentally, she never measured.) I can see the yellowness of the egg yolk and creaminess of the cheese for the filling as I write this.

Stay Hydrated.
Drinking water is not only healthy; it’s filling and also an important strategy. We tend to loosen some of the normal everyday restrictions with condiments such as salt when it comes to holidays. After all, we have guests and we want our food to be sublime. Salt makes you thirsty. Quench it with pure water, not just alcohol. While you engaging in appetizers, have a glass of water next to your drink or add ice. If a filled water glass is not at your place setting, make it your first order of business. Drink 1 sip of water for each sip of alcohol.

Consider the timing of your meal.
When I am hosting, I generally have our holiday meal earlier in the day say 2-3. This allows us to to take a walk outside between our main meal and dessert. Walking helps with digestion and the post meal coma. My family is also not driving home on a full stomach and dulled senses.
If your meal is in the evening, don’t skip breakfast and lunch. You will risk both eating way too quickly because indeed you are hungry and making the wrong choices. It’s like the old saying; don’t go food shopping when you are hungry. Eat a good breakfast, and for lunch you might consider a clear soup and a filling salad with some legumes and/or seeds.

Get Your Rest
If you are tired, you will over eat partly because lack of sleep is known to be associated with the following changes:

Overproduction of the hormone, Leptin, which signals hunger
Underproduction of Ghrelin , the hormone that tells you that you are full
Loss of sleep causes elevation is Cortisol which can then make you fell hungry.

So stick with a regular schedule.

Relax, Enjoy
Try not to obsess about food. Focus on the part of the season that brings you joy. Reflect and give thanks . Remember, one day will not bring you to your knees, its what you do the remaining days of the year.

Until next month, I wish you

Happy Healthy Holidays.