The holidays are a particular challenge for those of us who know we must be vigilant every day to maintain our health through good eating. Here are some of the challenges, and how to meet them.
The holiday party, with its buffet of delectable treats, many of them high-fat- cheese plates, crackers, cookies made with real butter, rich drinks such as egg nog, -can be faced and handled by using some of the following tricks:
- Drink a glass of skim milk before attending the party. It’s nutritious, filling, and will keep you from giving in and wolfing down too many hors d’oeuvres. And it’s great padding if you decide to have that one alcoholic drink you allow yourself at a party.
- Bring a bottle of sparkling water with you, in case none are supplied. Fill your glass with this festive-looking drink, or dilute your one glass of wine with it, making two or more bubbly spritzers.
- Station yourself as far away from the table as possible, so that you won’t be continually tempted by the sight and smell of food
- Decide in advance what you will eat, and how much of it. Want to treat yourself to a little bit of cheese? Pick the harder type of cheese (lower in fat). Try putting it on a vegetable, such as a celery stalk, rather than a cracker.
- Avoid automatic eating by keeping your hands occupied by holding a glass (of the above mentioned sparkling water or spritzer) while you are engaged in conversation.
- Do mindful eating: Savor each bite by leaving each one at the front of your mouth longer than you usually do. Then slowly let it move through your mouth, noting the point at which that particular food really stimulates your taste buds and enjoying it to the max.
- If you don’t get a real thrill from a certain food, be willing to discard the rest of it uneaten. If you’ve looked the tray over and selected one brownie, be willing to get rid of it if you think it doesn’t taste like the best brownie the world has ever known.
In short, make sure the actual experience of the feast matches your anticipation by making mindful, better choices. You’ll end up not only healthier, but happier as you realize you savored the experience and maintained your self-image as a heart-wise woman.