The holidays bring good cheer, family get-togethers and most all, lots and lots of food!
It’s so easy to overindulge this time of year. A single scoop of ice cream easily becomes three or four. And then there are the pies…oh the pies…“I’ll just have a tiny slice of each, please.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to savor every bite without feeling guilty or worrying about overindulging on your favorite holiday foods? Is it possible? Well…maybe not completely…but here’s a plan your waistline will appreciate.
The key to healthy eating is planning ahead.
If you know you’re having a big holiday meal later in the day, eat a light breakfast so you may enjoy your holiday meal without worrying too much about overeating.
However, please don’t starve yourself before feasting because it’s so hard to make smart food choices when your stomach is screaming FEED ME!
Savor the Food
The holiday season is a special time, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying foods that you wouldn’t normally eat. It’s perfectly fine to indulge without making it look like you’re training for one of those food eating competitions.
And even if you end up eating more than you planned, don’t beat yourself up. Remember, it’s not what you eat on Christmas Eve and Day that makes you unhealthy, it’s what you eat the rest of the year.
When you sit down to eat, enjoy how good the food looks and smells, in addition to how delicious it tastes. The thing about comfort and pleasure foods is that it’s more about satisfying your cravings than filling your stomach. Savoring them slowly helps you feel mentally, emotionally and physically satisfied.
Keep in mind that it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to let your brain know that it’s full. If you’re still hungry after twenty minutes, go ahead and have a little bit more.
Save the Treats for the End of the Meal
Don’t try to satisfy your cravings on an empty stomach. An empty stomach = eating too fast and too much. So eat your healthier food first and then enjoy a slice of pie or scoop of ice cream.
Even if sweets aren’t your Kryptonite, save your “trigger” foods for the end of the meal. For instance, don’t start your meal with piping hot, fresh bread if that’s your weakness. Save it for the end of the meal so you’re not eating refined carbohydrates on an empty stomach.
Take Some Food Home if Possible
You’re less likely to overeat if you know you can take a piece of grandma’s apple pie with you. It also helps you spread these special treats over the entire holiday period as opposed to trying to satisfy all of your cravings in a single day. However, this is only a good idea if you can restrain yourself from devouring the food the second you get home.
Also, as a final reminder, research shows that if you exercise before you feast, or take a twenty minute walk afterwards, it’ll help minimize the damage.
With these simple tips, you can enjoy the holiday season and your favorite foods without constantly worrying or feeling guilty about overindulging.