The holiday season is practically synonymous with parties and sumptuous feasts, which makes it a little more difficult to eat the right kinds of food in the proper portions. It’s quite a conflicting situation: you don’t want those extra calories and pounds to catch up on you, but you also don’t want to feel deprived during the “most wonderful time of the year.”
So how do you navigate the tricky waters of enjoying delicious food while maintaining a reasonably healthy diet? Here are a few tips.
Don’t Arrive Hungrily
It’s so much easier to gorge yourself on all that rich, delicious food when you arrive at a party with a grumbling stomach. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should fill your tummy with unhealthy stuff because that would defeat the purpose. Snack on something wholesome, like fruits, vegetable sticks, a turkey sandwich made with whole wheat bread, or something similar. You can also load up through healthy drinks. Whip up a smoothie using fresh fruits and plant-based types of milk, or drink pure and unsweetened walnut milk straight from the glass.
Don’t Ignore the Veggies
Fruits and vegetables usually get ignored in favor of “real” holiday food and drinks like glazed ham, smooth pies, and moist cakes, and eggnog. However, you’ll definitely eat a lot healthier and prevent you from over-indulging if you heap your plate with big servings of fruits and vegetables. The extra fiber will also help keep your colon healthy and moving properly. Just make sure to stay away from too-creamy or buttery sauces and dips.
Eat Just the Stuff You Really Love
Let’s face it: not everything on the buffet table is really all that appealing to your taste buds, they just look and smell oh so yummy. So instead of sampling every dish and dessert and stuffing yourself with all the extra calories just for the sake of tasting something, pick only the kinds of food you really love. This way, you’ll derive more satisfaction from eating.
Inspect the Buffet Table First
This tip is actually related to the previous two. Make a quick inspection of what’s on the buffet table first so you can scope out the fruits and veggies, as well as the food you actually like. This way, you’ll feel a little less tempted to sample everything. It will also make your trip to the buffet table quicker. The shorter you linger near the food, the less tempting it will be to take more.
A lively party might make you rush through your food. This means you’ll get less enjoyment out of eating and therefore feel less satisfied. You will also need to eat a lot more to feel full or even miss your body’s signals that you are already full. Make a conscious effort to eat slowly. Put down your fork on your plate and chew your food properly before taking another bite. Make some small talk with your friends and family, too. Before you know it, you’ve finished what’s on your plate and you feel not just full but actually content with what you’ve eaten.
Parties aren’t all about eating, they’re also about mingling and enjoying the company of colleagues, friends, and family. After you’ve eaten your meal, stand and walk around and make sure to stay away from the buffet table. Go around the room and strike up conversations. If you don’t know a lot of people in the gathering you’re going to, enlist the help of a friend or loved one to keep you company or to introduce you to someone who might share your interests.
Learn How to Say No
There will always be someone who will insist that you eat more food, especially during family gatherings (we’re looking at you, grandma!). They mean well, of course, but their kindness won’t be too kind to your waistline. In this case, your best option is really just to turn them down. Be polite but firm about it. You should also let them know that you enjoyed what you’ve eaten. This is a great way to earn some brownie points if the one who’s insisting that you eat more is also the one who cooked and prepared the feast.
Drink More Water
This is a tried-and-tested method of weight management and it will also serve you well during the holiday season. Drink a glass or two of water before and after you eat to help you feel fuller, faster. Water will also help you avoid the extra calories from soda, juices, and other party drinks.
If you’re also drinking alcoholic beverages, space them out by drinking water in between. This will help prevent nasty hangovers and curb the urge to eat more. You may not know it, but alcohol can actually increase your appetite. By staying hydrated with water, you will stay more on the side of sober and have more control over your appetite and what you actually eat.
Eating right all the time takes a lot of discipline, and this self-control will seriously be tested during this festive time. Keep these tips in mind to help you eat a lot healthier during the holidays.