Yes, it’s that time of year again. The holiday season is full of parties, food at the office, gifts of food from friends and neighbors, and family get-togethers and dinners. How do you avoid the pitfalls of all of those high-fat and high-sugar treats and the effect they can have on your weight and blood sugar?
Well, you don’t avoid them entirely–we do need to live a little after all. The key is to plan for those occasions. Adjust your food plan on those days. It’s okay to indulge A LITTLE, but don’t blow yourself too far out of the water. Here are a few ideas that might help.
- Don’t go to the event hungry. Eat something healthy, such as a high-protein or whole-grain snack right before you head to the event. That way, you won’t be super hungry and tempted overindulge.
- When the food is in front of you, look it over before you choose what to eat. Pick your favorite items or dishes you can only get this time of year. Leave the rest alone.
- Don’t hang out around the food source. If you’re helping prepare the food, chew gum so you won’t taste test everything while you’re cooking. At a buffet, place yourself away from the food table with a glass of water or seltzer, and indulge in an interesting conversation instead.
- Bring a healthy option with you. Depending on the event, it may be okay for you to contribute to the food selection. That way, you know there will be at least one item that is good for you.
- Drink a lot of water. It will occupy you and help you feel full.
- Don’t be the first through the food line. The food may seem a little less appetizing after multiple people have scooped out their portions, and you may be less likely to overindulge.
- Go light on the servings. A single scoop or half a serving of the items you do choose is enough to keep you satisfied.
- If you plan to have dessert, don’t put other starchy foods on your dinner plate. Skip the bread, the mashed potatoes, or the stuffing. Don’t have the candied yams if you plan to have a slice of pie. It’s a trade-off.
- As tempting as it may be, don’t save up all of your carbs for one meal. That’s not how your body works. You still need to spread your carbs out through the day.
- Go easy on the alcohol. Make a spritzer out of your wine by replacing half with seltzer or club soda. Make sure your beer is a lower-carb variety. Drink a big glass of water for each alcoholic beverage.
- Wear clothes with an actual waistline or a belt. No elastic waists or items with no waist at all. The little bit of tightness around your waist may make you think twice about taking a second serving of anything.
- Chew gum. Once you have eaten the appropriate amount of food, pop some gum in your mouth to avoid having a bite here and a bite there for the rest of the event.
- Help the host. If you are busy serving drinks or cleaning up dishes, you won’t be hanging around eating and drinking.
- Use the smallest plate available. Only take enough food that fits on the plate without piling or stacking items. Just make one trip. Then, move on to spending time in good conversation and experiencing the event.
- Share your gifts. If your neighbors bring you a plate of cookies, thank them profusely, eat one cookie, and then take the rest to work. Spread those calories among a group of people instead of eating them all yourself. If you can’t take the cookies to work, select one or two treats and throw the rest away. You can always repackage and re-gift the treats to your mail carrier, favorite bank teller, or your hairstylist.
- Get some additional exercise. On a day when you know you will be attending an event with food, take an extra long walk or do some other type of extra exercise. This doesn’t allow you to completely indulge, but it will help burn off a few of the extra calories and sugar you may take in.
I hope these tips help you get through this holiday season with fewer episodes of high glucose, fewer pounds gained, and much less guilt. You will feel better and continue to live healthier if you have a strategy and plan ahead. Most of all, enjoy the PEOPLE in your life this holiday season. They are the most important, after all.
Remember: Be smart. Be healthy. Live YOUR life!
Photo credit: Micah Elizabeth Scott