“More Grazing, Less Gobbling for the Holidays”
Most of the holidays consist of layers upon layers of different recipes which turn into creations of delicious foods from families, friends, magazines, restaurants, and traditions. It is a sign of festive times and celebrations of the harvest, religions, and beginnings of the New Year. What does that mean to our nutritional lifestyles? Some people choose to “indulge and engulf” while others choose more conservative approaches to healthy choices and quantities. In the words to my song, “Moderate”, it states, “Momma used to say clean off your plate.” It doesn’t have to be like that anymore. Let’s “graze it up” instead of “gobbling “it up. Here are some helpful tips which will make the holidays more mindful versus mindless.
1) Plan your day around your meals, not your meals around your day. I find that most people with weight challenges plan their meals around their day. The day becomes more of a priority than nutritional health. Meals fit in when they can, if at all. This sort of regimen becomes self-defeating and one just settles. I believe there is no such thing as “bad” food. It is all about good, better and best choices.
2) When going to a holiday party, look at your time of your last meal before the occasion. Timing of meals is imperative in your satiety (hunger) responses. If you are not “on track” that day with your meals, the results may linger over to the festivities and the “domino theory” could ensue.
You should have a protein snack before you go to the party, which will provide long lasting energy before you walk through the door.
3) Speaking of protein, look for protein foods you are certain will fill you vs. the carbohydrate snack foods. The snack foods also tend to be higher in sodium. Beware of fried foods, selections with cream sauces, nuts in excess due to high calories from fat.
4) If you like desserts, I recommend fruit choices vs. high calorie bakery goods which contain a higher sugar content as well as fat. Keep to one choice for the occasion to commemorate a “sweet and healthy” year ahead.
5) For those who like to imbibe spirits, wine, and beer, this area needs some great awareness. Remember, alcohol has almost as many calories per gram as fat does. This is an area where I find people lose sight of their mission of weight management. A little feels good, a little more might feel better, however the end result may end of around their stomach or hips. Alcohol is distilled from a carbohydrate and reverts back to sugar after consumption. If it is not used as energy, it is stored as fat or triglyceride. Let us practice the true meaning of “moderation” and also to remember to drink responsibly.
6) No more resolutions! Make every day a holiday, a birthday, Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanza. It really does not matter. Grazing is a form of moderation which works in all situations. Practicing this awareness will replace most mindless approaches from the past. Also, another tip is “dipping” rather than “dunking”, when it comes to sauces and dressing for salads. It eliminates the guess work from the lighter side of grazing.
Let us continue to practice and reinforce positive behaviors all year long. Simple suggestions are better than strict rules. These six tips are just the beginning to a healthier, lighter, slender, and, more attractive “YOU”. It all begins with one meal at a time!