Holiday music plays on heavy rotation in stores and waiting rooms. Peppermint mochas have replaced pumpkin-spice. And we've seen snow. Yes, the holiday season is here. Be it with family, friends, neighbors or co-workers, the opportunities to eat, drink and be merry may seem endless this time of year.
It's easy to go overboard eating all of the delectable desserts and savory bites available at these celebrations. But, don't let the food get the best of you. By following these five simple tips, you can easily survive the holiday season without packing on any extra pounds.
1. Remember your purpose. Sure, you look forward to the food at a party. Is your sole purpose really the buffet table? What about catching up with family members, networking with co-workers or meeting new friends? Focus first on the people—then the food.
2. Plan before you eat. Just because you are greeted at the door with an appetizer doesn't mean you have to eat it. Instead, take time to scope out your food options. Now you can make an informed decision on what to eat.
3. Start your day small. While many people like to save up for the big night and forgo earlier meals, it's never a good idea to skip meals. In addition to being unhealthy, this often backfires and causes excessive overeating. Instead monitor your portion sizes throughout the day and eat smaller, lower-calorie meals.
4. Know what to splurge on. If you're going to splurge choose items such as fruits, vegetables and cheese. Opt for turkey or chicken breast instead of prime rib or salt-cured meats, which are higher in saturated fat. Be light on gravy, dips and dressings unless you know that the preparer used low-fat ingredients. It's okay to take a handful of nuts, but remember to just take a handful.
5. Let children be part of process. It's hard to control children amongst candy, baked goods and sweets. Make sure children eat before attending any party. Otherwise, they'll arrive hungry and grab at anything. Let them know ahead of time that they can have one dessert. Maybe it's one cookie or one piece of chocolate? Let them decide. They'll enjoy being a part of the process.
We live in such a fast-paced world, do yourself a favor and slow down. The holiday season gives us a chance to spend time with those we care about most. Take time to enjoy your meal — and those around you. Your body will thank you.