So how do you and your family navigate this mine field of sugary treats and overindulgence between now and the New Year? Try these tips to help you enjoy the best of the holiday (eating) season while maintaining your families health goals. Discuss your plan with your children about how you (and they) are going to deal with keeping your food choices in check prior to attending a party.
- Maintain your regular eating schedule, ideally having 3 meals and one to three snacks per day. Eating regularly, and being comfortable and satisfied throughout the day, means getting to the dinner party feeling hungry but not starving! When we are famished we tend to go overboard and overindulge. Maintaining a regular eating pattern can help you stick with enjoying treats in moderation. Avoid the 'dieters mentality' of skipping meals to save calories so you can eat more at the party. Halloween is coming up! Make sure your family eats dinner prior to being outdoors for trick-or-treat. The temptation to overeat will be reduced.
- Think portions, portions, portions! Many people feel guilty when they enjoy a homemade shortbread cookies or a glass of eggnog! Don't waste your time on guilt! Enjoy it and move on! It is often HOW MUCH we eat rather than WHAT we eat that pushes our waistline past our belt! Follow the 80/20 rule: make healthy choices 80% of the time and treat yourself to less nutritious foods (guilt-free) 20% of time.
- Check it all out - before pigging out! Have you ever started filling your plate at the start of a buffet only to get to the end and find your favorite food but no where to put it? Let's face it. Not all the food at the party is going to be spectacular. Be selective! Choose only the foods you really enjoy and leave the rest for another day.
- Focus on WHO not WHAT. Yes, celebrations and gatherings are about the food! But they are also about the people! Instead of making sure you get to sample all the desserts, why not make sure you catch up with all the people you want to see. If you don't know a lot of people, moving away from the food table and mingling can help make you more available to meet others and make the event more meaningful.
- Get real! Sometimes changing your perspective is all you need to feel and be more successful! If adults have been gradually losing weight up until now, it may be more appropriate and realistic to aim for weight maintenance during the next few months. This change in your goal can remove a lot of guilt and frustration associated with making healthy choices. Being less frustrated can actually lead to making better choices because you want to, not because you have to.
- Shake it off! Yes I said it! and no I am not a Swifty. Your children will enjoy moving to the beat of any catchy tune! Stay physically active during the holiday season to keep those extra calories from taking up permanent residence in your waist or hips. Plan simple family activities like walking, ice skating or putting on some tunes and dancing together in your living room!
How does your family maintain a healthy lifestyle during the busy, food-rich holiday season?