Holiday season- how NOT to fall off the wagon

Friday, November 26, 2010

So...the holidays are coming. Every place you go, from the desks at the office, to every house you visit for the next month will be bursting with stuff we all really shouldn't be eating en masse. So once you've chosen a way to eat healthy, how do you look into the face of temptation and decide you're not gonna bite (literally AND figuratively)?  How do you eat healthy during the holidays? Here are a few tips:

1- Remember how eating that crap made you feel- yes, the instant rush is pretty cool, but then the crash, the tiredness, the restlessness...the puffy spare tire. Think of how happy you'll be in January when everyone is moaning about how their pants don't fit and you'll be doing great.

2- Remember not to eat standing up. Don't cruise by someone's desk, pop chocolates or donuts into your mouth and walk on, chewing as you think about the report you're working on that was due yesterday. If you're going to have a treat, take it someplace without distractions (read: tv or computer) and sit down. You want to be present- really enjoy the taste. That way you're both physically and emotionally satisfied with your treat.

3- Before you head to a party, ruin your dinner. Yes, do what your mother always told you not to do. If you go when you're starving, you're much more likely to eat things you otherwise wouldn't have. Fill up first on raw veggies, raw nuts, and other foods with "staying power".

4- Watch what you drink. Booze adds a lot of empty calories- particularly if you're drinking something with a lot of sugar in it. If you're the kind of person who likes to pound back the wine coolers, remember that the sugar in those will very quickly translate to the puffy spare tire mentioned above. Drinking also lowers our inhibitions and impairs our judgment. If you're tipsy, you'll be the first one with your tongue in the chip dip (and the last one invited next year).

5- Be a good guest- bring something. Not only does bringing something contribute to the evening, but it allows you to bring one thing- preferably a treat item- that you will allow yourself to indulge in. Maybe it's strawberries covered in dark chocolate, some of these date and nut balls, or some other not-so-terrible treat. Better that than something that you will regret scarfing down.

6- At a party, pick one decadent thing to indulge in. If you didn't bring something, do a scan and decide what treat you're going to have. Don't stand at the table shoving it in your face. Put it on a pretty plate, get a fork, and sit down someplace as quiet as possible. Enjoy every bite. Roll it around your mouth. TASTE it. You'll be much more satisfied that way; standing by the food table is dangerous- you'll end up like Wilbur at his trough...

7- Host! What better way of bringing people together to enjoy the holidays - and NOT spoil the healthy lifestyle you're building- than being the chef! Pick the food you love, include some healthier dessert decadence, and stress less about falling off the wagon.

8- When in doubt, go in "packing". If you have intolerances or just don't want to eat garbage food, bring a tiny little something with you in your bag. You know what I'm talking about- 80% cocoa dark chocolate!!! Bring a bar that's big enough to share though- you might attract a crowd.

Tree is going up this weekend- the crew is very excited- and I am in the midst of recipe testing. Hope to have some healthy but delicious suggestions coming your way soon. :)



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