Every year around the Holidays I struggle with the same dilemma: should I just say, ‘forget it, it’s the holidays’, and eat whatever I want or should I try to eat healthy and not overindulge?!? I know I am not the only person who has debated this issue in their head and for me, this year I am choosing to eat healthy for many reasons:
It is my experience that people ‘cheat’ on their healthy lifestyle more than they think. I don’t know how many times I have done a weeklong food recall on a client and it always ends with, ‘this isn’t a very typical week for me’. While I agree we all have non-typical weeks there is no way everyone’s bad week happens to be the week before they see a dietitian. I have fallen guilty of this mindset myself… you really don’t remember how many times we allow ourselves ‘little treats’ because in our mind we think, in general, we eat pretty healthy and fail to realize the little cheats treats can really add up and derail our best efforts!! This is why a food journal or a food journal app like myfitnesspal is soo helpful! I don’t believe everyone should write down every bite they take for the rest of their life but I do think it is important to keep a food journal for either when you are getting started with living a healthier lifestyle or when you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, just using this technique a couple times a year, for a week or so. I still do this randomly and every time I am shocked by what I eat, the old saying is true, “Out of sight, out of mind”.
If I do have a treat meal I would prefer it to be something I have really been out-of-my-mind craving like an amazing dessert or a hamburger and fries or ice cream (you get the picture) and while I enjoy stuffing and turkey and the whole thanksgiving feast, it isn’t exactly on the top of my cheat meal list. If it is for you then by all means indulge!!
This time of year there is sooo many opportunities to indulge that I don’t feel the need to overdo it every time I am at a social event. I have many strategies for reducing the damage at gatherings:
Always find the healthiest appetizer: pickles, nuts, vegetables, fruit, hummus, baked salmon and olives are just some of the healthy items I don’t mind snacking on before a dinner and should be your go-to items!
We all have that one house we have to go to every year that never has anything healthy… you know it’s coming!! So plan ahead, and offer to bring something healthy that you love and will enjoy eating. Truthfully, most hostesses’ love when people offer to bring dishes so don’t worry about offending anyone!
If you know that A and B above are for sure not going to happen, then eat a snack before you go and spend the cocktail hour socializing. I always carry a healthy snack like nuts, almond butter, or even beef jerky with me so I am always prepared. Another one of my favorite quotes holds true, “Fail to plan, plan to fail’.
I also believe there is a happy medium for indulging during the holidays but we can get more into that in tomorrow’s post!!! In the meantime, what do you do during the Holidays? Do you like to overindulge or eat more on the healthy side?! Also, if you are looking for healthy thanksgiving recipes be sure the check out this past week's posts!! Pictured below is the almonds and green beans, stuffing and a pear and pomegranate salad!! Love, Marla