It's Jingle Bell Run and holiday parties season! And that means that all kinds of delicious foods and libations are all around us. Sugary treats, eggnog delights, and rich meals. From Thanksgiving to New Years, there are wonderful opportunities to see friends, family, and partake in all kinds of foods and beverages. Like you, I enjoy this time of year — all the food and drinks — and my goal is to do so in a healthy manner. Below are a few strategies to help you enjoy the season without overindulging.
• Avoid foods that spike your appetite and munch on veggies. I make an effort to avoid finger foods that spike my appetite, like: salted nuts, chips, candy, etc. Instead, If there are vegetables available I munch on those. Instead of loading your plate with fried wontons, potato latkes, crackers, and cheese — take a few of those items and load up the remainder of your plate with veggies and fruit.
• Well balanced dinner plate & moderation. For me, the key to navigating lavish sit-down meals is being mindful about what I put on my plate. My strategy is to keep my plate well balanced and eat everything in moderation. What will my plate look like? Lots of vegetables and a moderate portion of protein will take up most of my plate with a little room for items like stuffing and mashed potatoes. With foods I love and could potentially overeat (like stuffing), I take a small amount, eat it slowly and enjoy each bite. When I'm done with that plate of food, if I go back for seconds that will likely include mostly veggies. If I have a glass of wine, I try to keep it to about 5 ounces, which is a standard pour in most restaurants. As for dessert, I love them — and I will have a small slice of pie or a cupcake and be done. Again, my goal is to enjoy the food while not overindulging.
• Drink water. Lots of water. It will fill you up — plus, water has lots of nutritional benefits.
• Eat a meal before. If you have an opportunity to eat a meal before attending a party, that will help to limit grazing at parties. In addition, it's important to not skip any meals prior to attending events or parties so you aren't already in a nutritional deficit or hangry.
• Be mindful, eat slowly, and enjoy. Focus on being cognizant of everything you're putting in your mouth, savoring each bite — and eat slowly. This will allow you to notice when you're getting full.
For those running Jingle Bell Runs, may you be the first one to cross the finish line. And to all, a happy and joyful holiday season with lots of love, joy, and healthy eats.