(Stay Healthy and Enjoy Without the Guilt)
We’re on the brink of the holidays, soon to tumble into a landmine of high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie foods. And regardless of what you may or may not celebrate, this time of year is filled with office parties, family dinners, church brunches, filled snack bowls, candy bowls, and cookie swaps. And as some are enjoying and toasting, others find the weight of holiday foods and expectations to be crushing.
Living in New York is like living in a city of food temptations, especially during the holidays. Here are some of my most mindful nutritional tips to eat your way through the holidays, feeling sated but not Christmas stocking stuffed.
Enjoy!! Eat your grandma’s potato latkes, dulce de leche pudding, bouche de noel, or amaretti cookies. Holidays are about tradition and food is also about tradition. Taste is something that doesn’t get lost over generations. Those tastes go back hundreds of years. Enjoy!
Rethink what you drink: The enticing holiday flavors are hard to resist – peppermint, egg nog, pumpkin spice, and cider fill our cups and flavor our coffees. On top of that, when you uncork that bottle of wine or mix those drinks, you’re filling your body with calories and sugar. Here’s a quick sampling of some of our favorite holiday beverages and how many calories they have. (I’m not even going into sugar content or fat)
- Wine (5 oz) = up to 125 calories
- Martini (2.25 oz)= 124 calories
- Cosmopolitan (2.25 oz) = 146 calories
- Egg nog (1 cup)= 350 calories
- Hot buttered rum = 418 calories
- Pumpkin Spice Latte (16 oz) = 410 calories
Yikes! So many of our holiday calories come from what we drink. Limit how many drinks you consume by drinking mindfully, slowly enjoying each sip. And have a tall glass of water between each drink. Alcohol is dehydrating so be alert to your water needs, keeping your water glass filled. Plus, if you skip the whipped cream you can drop 200 calories! Always drink alcohol in moderation.
Pick healthy foods first: Fill your plate with salads and vegetables, non-cream soups and other not-so-heavy options. They will fill you up and there will be less space for the richer foods and your stomach will thank you later.
Sauce on the side: Don’t drown your meats and potatoes in gravy. A little flavor goes a long way.
Steer clear of the snack bowl: If it’s within reach, you’ll spend the evening nibbling. Out of reach, out of mouth.
Don’t skip meals anticipating a later indulgence: We overeat when we’re starving. So, eat your regularly scheduled meals choosing lower calorie options. The holiday party can be a great place to have a nibble of something extra, indulge in a cup of cider or your co-worker’s famous baklava, but it shouldn’t replace meal.
Eat smaller portions: Use smaller plates and utensils. Research shows that the size of the bowl, plate or glass we use influences how much we choose to eat!
Eat Mindfully: So much of overeating comes from us not paying attention. Make sure you really want that last bite, or that next hors d’ouvre. You just might be eating it because it is there. Pay attention, savor each, listen to your body and stop before you’re full.
During the holidays, we are going to eat more, and richer foods than usual. But you don’t have to battle every meal or party if you follow these tips. And remember, the holidays are not just about the food but about the friends, family and colleagues with whom we celebrate. So go ahead and enjoy!