The holiday season is here once again! A joyous time of year for some, a tough time for others. For many of us, the season “holds it all” as my dear friend and yogi, Chris, would say. Highs and lows, too much stuffing, not enough brussels sprouts, a never-ending to do list and holiday cards from the cutest kids around.
Traditions that involve food, and the sheer amount of food you likely don’t typically eat – including one too many parties with a table full of peppermint bark, party mix and sugar cookies – make feeling healthy tricky this time of year.
A list of some of my best strategies for staying healthy and well this holiday season (hint: mindfulness is a major one!):
- Headed to a holiday party? Eat before! If you tend to over-do the cheese and crackers, peanut butter balls and potato chips, eat a good snack and drink a large glass of water before hand. If you show up to a party hungry (I don’t mean a sit down dinner), you’re likely to over-eat foods you wouldn’t otherwise.
- Bring food to the gathering that you can eat!
- Choose a “dessert” size plate instead of the larger dinner plates. This way, you won’t be able to fit quite as much Mexican dip on your plate!
- Use a wine glass to drink seltzer or kombucha – or try a “kombucha spritzer” with a bit of both. Add a few cranberries, pomegranate seeds, lemon or lime for extra flavor and fun!
- Drink a glass or two of water before heading to a party – especially if you plan to have a glass of wine!
- Let your hair down and have some FUN! If there is a cookie or two you just love, and is tradition to eat, eat the cookie!! Just be sure to take a deep breath before, enjoy, and taste every bite. And remember, don’t pour any guilt sauce on top! Eat the cookie or two and move on…no need to keep thinking about about how you wish you didn’t eat it for 3 hours. If you are mindful for the “experience,” and not busy on your phone, chatting, or watching Christmas Vacation, you may be surprised how satisfying just one or two cookies can be.
- Don’t stand in front of the dessert table – position yourself by the veggie tray every time!
- Honor your taste buds. If there are foods you really like to eat, and only have them once a year at the holidays, take this opportunity to consciously eat the pumpkin bread that reminds you of Grandma. Choose these special foods, rather than filling up on “unhealthy” foods you can eat any time of the year.
- Put your fork (or cookie!) down between each bite.
- Chew your food!! It is so easy to barely taste or chew our food when we are in a social setting. Deep breathing helps. Take your time – there is no rush!