How to Eat Right During the Holidays
by Renee Kennedy
They're coming -- the Holidays --
How are you going to handle the gorgeous, fattening foods
that inevitably accompany every party, gathering or event?
Food is a big and wonderful part of the holiday tradition....
From Thanksgiving to New Years, we stuff our faces with
Aunt Linda's famous pumpkin pie to Grandma's N.Y. style
cheese cake. (Actually, it all starts with Junior's Halloween
Learning to deal with the mass quantities of fattening food
doesn't have to be painful. Instead, get to the root of the
Adopt a new holiday philosophy that will change your life and
your holiday eating habits: Take control and give up or replace
a few of the holiday traditions. Whether it's stress inducing
events or great grandma's meat pie... ask yourself, "Do I really
need it this year?"
- Take the stress away.
Stress causes many of us to overeat. This year, cut out a few
of the more stressful holiday events. It is OK to say, "No."
For instance, traveling during the holidays can cause
extra stress that you don't need. Put your foot down this
year and tell your relatives that you're not going to travel.
Or maybe your stress is caused by having a gazillion people
over to your house for dinner. This year consider having a
quiet dinner or suggest that it's someone else's turn
to play host.
Spending too much on gifts can also be an unneeded
stress. Try telling relatives you'd like to cut down on gift
giving this year... just tell the plain truth - money is tight
and you can't afford it. Instead, suggest a lower cost
alternative... like trading homemade gifts or putting a
limit on the gift cost.
Whatever the source of your stress, nail it down and
remove it. And throw the guilt out the window.
You will feel relieved and happy with the control
that you exert over the situation. It's your choice to take
the control... don't leave room for excuses.
- Focus on holiday activities, not holiday food.
Go ice skating, caroling, or read a favorite holiday book.
Don't be afraid to start your own traditions. Instead of
focusing on the baking and cooking traditions
make a new tradition surrounding an activity like
decorating your own door wreath.
- Replace some of your high calorie holiday foods with low
calorie or healthier options. Replace cookies with fruit,
replace rich candies with nuts, replace an apple pie with
Every year, my mom used to include a carton of malted
milk balls in our stockings. I've created a healthy alternative:
I put tropical fruits like coconut, large naval oranges, mangos,
and star fruit in the stockings. In our house, one of the
highlights of Christmas morning is when my son finds a
coconut in the bottom of his stocking. (It's easy to make
your own traditions, just focus on the things that you and
your significant others enjoy!)
- What do you do when you just have to make the cookies
or when Aunt Sue brings you a delicious fruit cake?
Put limits on what you allow yourself to eat.
For instance, for each different kind of cookie you make,
combat cookie munchies with a rule before you start baking:
allow yourself 1-2 cookies of each different batch and then
give the rest away to family, friends, and teachers.
Another idea you might like to try... don't give up the lovely
smell of baking, just make non-edible foods:
- cookies you hang on the tree or
- non edible gingerbread houses. (Making one giant gingerbread
house and trying to keep it glued together will fix your desire to bake
for the next year!)
If you receive lots of baked goods as gifts - freeze them or
bring them to work or serve them only when guests come over.
- Going to a party?
- Don't starve yourself all day so you can eat more at the party.
You'll end up eating the high fat foods to compensate.
- Need a dish to pass? Bring a healthy dish - like a fruit tray,
a vegetable dish, couscous, or a low fat vegetable lasagna.
- Sometimes, the problem with parties is that the desserts
are laid out with the main meal. Be sure to eat the healthy foods
before diving into the desserts.
- Eat a variety of foods in smaller quantities.
- Need to munch? Hang out at the fruit and vegetable trays.
- Your choice of beverage can make or break your entire day.
- Before you eat it, input the food into your NutriCounter
If you're exceeding your nutritional goals for the day, you'll think
twice before eating.
This section of the NutriCounter site is designed for educational purposes only.
The information provided
through this site should not be used for diagnosing or
treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a
substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect
you may have a health problem, you should consult
your health care provider.