With Thanksgiving coming up and Christmas just around the corner, you might feel tempted to give up all your hard won healthy eating habits and just let everything go for those special days. A typical Thanksgiving or Christmas can average 2000 calories.
Ouch! And just think how guilty you will feel the next day.
How can you enjoy a guilt-free celebration?
Here is how to do it:
1. Don't starve yourself on the big day so that you have more room for the special meal – make sure you have a small breakfast that is satisfying and gives you the energy to keep going. We often eat faster and more when we are hungry - therefore eat a small wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at dinner time. If it is midday meal you are enjoying, then just a very light supper that night is best.
2. Don't be a couch potato on that day – get the family and visitors to join you for a walk early in the day – enjoyable and lots of fun. If you can fit it in, then go for another walk together after dinner or a family game of football or whatever you all enjoy. The holiday itself is a great opportunity for some pleasant recreation and exercise for you and the food will taste even better if you have some exercise first.
3. Think healthy with the dishes you cook for dinner by cutting down on the fats and sugars – there is always a healthier alternative.
4. Whether you are a guest or a host, be careful when you fill your plate. This is the day for special foods so chose those that you don't eat every other day of the year – this will leave more space on the plate and you wont feel deprived. Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with a lean meat (go skinless with that turkey!) and the rest of the plate can with a starch of your choice. Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items. If you cannot control the ingredients that go into a dish, simply limit yourself to a smaller helping size. Boring I know but moderation is the key.
5. Eat slowly – no gobbling down your plate of food – this will help you to feel satisfied with less. Enjoy and savor each delicious mouthful!
6. However tempting, resist the second helping. This means you can then chose a delicious dessert to round off your meal.
7. Drink lots of calorie-free filtered water with your meal – this helps to fill your stomach and keeps you hydrated as alcohol and coffee can both dehydrate your body. If you want alcholic drinks then have a glass or two of wine or a wine spritzer between the glasses of water.
8. A holiday celebration meal is not the time to be worrying about losing weight – the important thing is to maintain your weight at this time and not to put on any new weight.
9. Catering for large numbers can put an added strain on your kitchen facilities. You don't want any food poisoning to spoil the occasion so be careful about leaving food out in warm areas, make sure the turkey is correctly defrosted and cooked and put your refrigerator to good use for popping in leftovers promptly.
10. And remember that the day is all about giving thanks and enjoying time with close friends and family - it should not be just about the food and stuffing yourself.
Have a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful Christmas too!