The holidays are always a busy time, filled with family, friends, parties, and food. It's super easy to get off track, and go to town on the massive dessert display. It's also a hard time for people like myself, with food intolerances who can't just dive in to a large display of food without knowing exactly how it was prepared and if any of the troubling ingredients are included. Here are some tips on how to make healthy and smart choices this holiday season:
1- Let's say you know you have a party one night- there will be food, drinks, the works. Plan ahead. That day, eat as healthy as possible, and to try fill yourself up with healthy fats (seeds, tree nuts, avocado), protein (organic meats, eggs, beans) and lots of greens. This way, you won't go to the party totally starving.
2- When you arrive to the party, scan all the food options first. There are usually some sort of crudite or a salad. Choose that first, and let your brain process the extent of your satiety before going to the next course. This takes about 30 mins. Then, allow yourself to have some of the more tempting options. Hopefully, you will have satisfied some of your initial hunger, so you don't need to go to town with an overflowing plate. If you can, focus on protein and veggies, instead of a carb heavy plate filled with mac 'n cheese. You'll already be drinking (most likely), so let that be your carb, and skip it for the meal. Bottom line- pick and choose what's important to you, and just because it's unlimited food, doesn't mean you have to lose all control when it comes to portion size.
3- For many people, dessert is where all self control goes out the window. It doesn't have to! Have some dessert, just don't have every single option offered. Pick one or two options that are calling your name, and eat it slowly. Make it last, so you aren't done in under a minute, only fiending for more. Or, chose one, wait a half hour, and then go back for one other treat. Make the food last as long as you can so it doesn't feel like it's over so quickly and that you're missing out. When you're done, walk away from the area, and keep yourself busy with conversation. As for the best option, go with dark chocolate. It's healthier than that cupcake!
3- Bring a snack to avoid mouth boredom, such as bag of almonds, seeds, or a protein bar Bring a little If the party goes late, and you find yourself wanting to go back to that pasta that been out for 6 hours, try to munch on this instead. Chances on, you've already had drinks, dessert, etc, so there's no need for more food that is just going to spike your blood sugar. You'll thank me later.
4-For all my fellow food intolerant people- these holiday parties can be hard. It completely sucks to watch everyone eating without a care in the world, when there aren't usually many options that you can be certain are safe for you. I would definitely advise to eat before you go and to bring safe, filling food with you. It's hard to not eat when everyone else is, so bring something to avoid all the temptations. The last party I went to, I made rice, chopped turkey meat, and veggies in a big container. I ate it right out of the container on and off throughout the party, and just put it in the fridge when I was done.
If you're friendly with the host, call them in advance and ask them what they will be serving, and how they are preparing it. Sometimes, it simply takes asking someone if they can cook with olive oil instead of butter and BAM, you can eat the whole spread. Let them know what you can't eat. People want to accommodate their guests, so don't feel like you're putting someone out. If they are ordering from a caterer, ask for the name. Call them yourself and ask- do you cook everything with butter? Is there flour in the chicken dish? What oil do you use? If you are able to get the relevant information, you may be able to eat some options after all!
5- Walk it off! Try to keep moving, go on a walk if appropriate, and get up throughout the party so you're not just sitting the whole time. Movement always helps!
For a personalized holiday food and exercise plan, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the holidays everyone!! :)