If you’re like me, the holiday season is a looooong stretch of eating, and sometimes indulging on foods I normally don’t eat during the year. It starts with Thanksgiving. Usually ends with a family gathering on New Year’s Day. And, is sprinkled between with parties and office celebrations.
That can add up to a lot of eating and excess calories. By the end, you might find you’ve slid off your healthy eating habits and can no longer slide into your favorite pants.
It doesn’t need to be this way. Follow some simple tips to have your cake and cookies and eat them, without packing on the pounds.
- Plan, plan, plan. Think ahead. If you know that the buffet table will be filled with delicious foods you love, then eat moderately during the day, with a smattering of small, lower-calorie meals.
- Eat small, in advance. Don’t arrive at the buffet table hungry, hungry, hungry. Instead, try to take in a few small snacks or a small meal, in advance. A slice of whole-grain bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter or a slice of cheese makes for a quick, healthy snack.
- Careful with the beverage(s). Ask for a lower-calorie beverage. Sparkling water is a great choice, and it will keep you hydrated. If you opt for alcohol, limit your consumption and take your time with your drink.
- Enjoy the guests. Take time to participate in conversations with other party guests. The buffet table should not be your first stop.
- Visit the buffet table once. Just once. This can be a tough one, of course. Multiple trips to the buffet almost certainly mean adding more and more calories to your waistline. Try making just one trip but choosing just those items you really fancy, being aware of your portion sizes.
- Step away from the buffet. Once your plate is filled, move away from the buffet table to avoid adding more food to your plate. Find a good place to sit to enjoy your food and the company of others.
- Stay away from the buffet. Don’t linger at the buffet table all night. You’ll be tempted to keep nibbling while talking. In other words, you will be eating mindlessly.
- Bring a better option. If the host and hostess have asked the guests to contribute to the buffet table, perhaps share a lower-calory, healthy food choice.
- Don’t feel guilty. If you do find that you wind up overeating, don’t worry. Remember, this is just one party out of the year. Keep to your exercise routine and good eating habits, and those extra calories will drop away. The important factor is to enjoy the people around you. Enjoy family and friends and the special traditions you share with your loved ones.
The key to surviving the holiday eating season is to plan ahead. And, don’t even set yourself up for failure by making well-intentioned but fruitless promises to try and lose weight during the holidays. Just strive to maintain your weight, and don’t forget to keep your exercise routine.
Don’t let this holiday season stress you out. Just practice a little moderation, a little mindfulness with your actions. Including eating.