Recently, an article on eating well during the holidays appeared in The Boston Magazine. The writer shared her spin on eating tips that “you can actually use” during the holidays. No surprise. It’s that time of the year and everyone is dishing up advice on how to avoid gaining weight during the holidays. I’ll be honest, I didn’t hate the article. But…. I didn’t love it either. So I’ll give my take on the age old tradition. Here it goes.
Old Rule #1: Bring a bag of baby carrots with you to munch on during the party.
Marci’s “Rule”: Don’t eat food you don’t like. It’s a party for crying out loud! If you LOVE baby carrots dipped in Ranch dressing, go for it. But let’s be honest, you can have that 365 days of the year. Eat what you love. Eat what’s special. Skip the rest. Do you really like those holiday colored M&Ms?
Old Rule #2: Wear tight fitting clothes to the holiday party, preferably something with a belt.
Marci’s “Rule”: I don’t believe in self-harm. Wear an outfit you can rock! Seriously, wear something you feel dang sexy in. Confidence and self-love often leads to better self-care!
Old Rule #3: Take only three bites of everything on your plate.
Marci’s “Rule”: I really don’t know what to say about this rule, but it’s just plain silly. Don’t do this. But do stay present and actually TASTE your food. Yes, truly taste it. When you start to notice that you are getting full, take a little break. Socialize. Play with the kiddos or play a game. You can always go back to eating later but give your body and brain time to catch up with one another.
Old Rule #4: Dab a napkin on top of the food, if it leaves an oil mark, leave it behind.
Marci’s “Rule”: This is also totally crazy. Again, don’t do this. Fat isn’t bad. Fat is what allows us to feel satisfied. Fat adds flavor and texture. We need to stop demonizing fat. But, too much of anything doesn’t leave us feeling good physically. Again, take what you love. Leave the rest behind. Eat what tastes good. Take a pause when you are getting full.
Old Rule #5: Eat less during the day prior to the party to “save” calories for later.
Marci’s “Rule”: This is a disaster waiting to happen. Eat during the day! Fuel is what our brains and bodies need! You may want to think about balancing your food choices if you know what the evening menu has in store. But please don’t starve yourself prior to arriving at the party.
Old Rule #6: Drink multiple glasses of water prior to the party to fill you up and prevent overeating.
Marci’s “Rule”: Here’s a little known fact. Our bodies do NOT process water the same way they process food. You cannot trick your tummy into thinking you have fed it when you guzzled a gallon of water. Anyone who has tried that old dieting gimmick knows it doesn’t work. Make sure you’ve had a little something an hour or two before the party. Stay hydrated. Stay tuned in to how you’re food tastes and your body feels. You’ll do great.
Remember, our culture thrives on a restrict/binge mentality. So learning to eat in a mindful, balanced, nourishing way takes practice! It’s a skill that probably needs developing. But I am fully confident that with practice, you can get there.
Happy Holidays. Your nutritionist in Cambridge.
What are your tips for healthy eating during the holidays? Do share!