- On November 11, 2019
“Food for Thought”
With the holidays around the corner, how much thought are we giving to our health amidst the enticing cuisine and cheer around us during the holidays and still remain mindful of our remarkable “personal machine”…our body! Call it a taste of wellness or conscious eating, but staying on track throughout the holiday season needs to be steadfast and stay the course. Family gatherings, holiday parties, trips, cruises…. they’re all wonderful and yes, we should allow ourselves to indulge, but do we know when to slow down or hit pause? While entertaining or being entertained it is our responsibility to know our limits and be conscious of our health as we get swept up in the holiday season when it comes to eating.
When we explore food and eating, we acknowledge that this is the third most important element for the survival of living things. Food provides energy and development, maintains life and stimulates growth after air and water. As a matter of fact, food is one of the most complicated set of components. Food plays a fundamental role in the promotion of health and disease prevention. So how do we stay on track during the holidays when food becomes so tempting?
We really don’t need to deprive ourselves and only eat only bland and boring foods, or enjoy our pleasures with a side order of guilt. Instead, by practicing a bit of preventive eating and cooking, we can get through the holidays without making “must go on a diet” one of our New Year’s resolutions.
Here are some ways that we can stay on course to deal with the foods that are tempting:
- Take 10 before taking seconds. It takes a few minutes for your stomach’s “I’m getting full” signal to get to your brain. After finishing your first helping, take a 10-minute break. Make conversation. Drink some water then recheck your appetite. You might realize you’re full or only want a small portion of seconds.
- Budget wisely. Don’t eat everything at feasts and parties. Be choosy and spend calories judiciously on the foods you love.
- Distance helps the heart stay healthy. At a party, don’t stand next to the food table. That makes it harder to mindlessly reach for food as you talk. If you know you are prone to recreational eating, pop a mint or a piece of gum so you won’t keep diving in for the chips.
- Don’t go out with an empty tank. Before setting out for a party, eat something so you don’t arrive famished. Pre-party healthy snacks combined with complex carbohydrates with a protein and unsaturated fat, like apple slices with peanut butter are a great way to help control over-eating.
- Drink to your health. A glass of eggnog can set you back 500 calories. Wine, beer, and mixed drinks range from 150 to 225 calories. If you drink alcohol, have a glass of water in between drinks.
- Avoid alcohol on an empty stomach. Alcohol increases your appetite and diminishes your ability to control what you eat.
- Put on your dancing or walking shoes. Dancing is a great way to work off some holiday calories. If you are at a family gathering, suggest a walk before the banquet or even between dinner and dessert.
- Make room for veggies. At meals and parties, don’t ignore fruits and vegetables. They make for great snacks and even better side or main dishes unless they’re slathered with creamy sauces or butter.
- Be buffet savvy. At a buffet, stroll around the food table before putting anything on your plate. By checking out all of your options, you might be less inclined to pile on items one after another.
- Don’t shop hungry. Eat before you go shopping so the scent of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies doesn’t tempt you to gobble sweets you don’t need.
- Cook from (and for) the heart. To show family and friends that you really care about them, be creative with recipes that use less butter, cream, lard, vegetable shortening, and other ingredients rich in saturated fats.
What’s most important is that we pay attention to what really matters. Although food is an essential part of the holidays, we need to put focus on our family and friends and take pleasure in the laughter and cheer of the season. If balance and moderation are already integrated into your life style, it’s okay to indulge once in a while, as long as it’s kept in check. What we feed ourselves and our family, is the ultimate pathway to health and longevity.
Most of all, we need to remember what the season is about. Expressing gratitude is an opportunity to be thankful for the life given to us. It’s about celebration and appreciation for time spent with family and the people we care about. When you focus more on family, friends and fun, it’s easier to focus less on the food. Enjoy the holidays!!