In the first article of this series, I talked about simple actions you can take every day to help you manage holiday food temptations that are all around us during this season. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that you not enjoy some of your holiday favorites. We are celebrating after all!
It just leads me into the focus of this next set of holiday survival tips: how to come to terms with the mile-high tables of food at the office, the holiday parties and family gatherings. These next 8 tips may just help you get to January 1st with a spring in your step and a happy, healthy gut (especially if you have food sensitivities).
Party Food Perspective: Remember, we eat to live. We don’t live to eat. If I’m going to a party, and especially if I’m not sure if there will be foods I can eat, I eat a healthy and satisfying meal or snack before I go. That way, I won’t arrive at the party famished and more likely to slip. Or in the case of food sensitivities, eat something that may make me feel sick later.
A New Twist on the Hostess Gift: I like to bring what I call a “smart” hostess gift. I simply bring a dish or two that I can eat (sans the foods I’m sensitive to) and bring them along to share. It’s a win-win all around. I have food I can eat. The hostess feels more relaxed (because folks never know what to serve the food-sensitive guests). Others at the party get to sample and learn that healthy, allergy-friendly foods can be simple and taste great!
The Whole Truth: No matter where you go, there’s usually something healthy (and allergy-friendly) you can eat… think fresh fruits and veggies or cocktail shrimp. Pick these up first and you’ll be less hungry for the other things. Bonus: these foods are usually less messy to eat. You won’t spill on your cocktail dress or shirt!
Table of Grace: If you have food allergies or sensitivities, don’t eat anything that will make you sick, but it’s ok to indulge a little. It’s a celebration for Pete’s sake! Give yourself permission to sample some treats and let it go. You’re welcome.
Take 3: Consider sharing a dessert with a friend or take a small serving and only have 3 bites. You’re laughing at me right now. I see how you are! But how are you going to feel later, after you dove head first into that rich dessert? Eat like you’d eat on national TV, not like you would in your living room. Fancy dessert table and it’s too hard to choose? Pick three and take 1-3 small bites of each. Remember… grace.
Save the Spirits for Last: You might consider saving your glass of wine or other alcoholic drink until after your meal. This will prevent calorie overload from consuming too much alcohol, not to mention any embarrassing behavior because of that “buzz” you always get.
Two for Every One: Ok, so maybe you’re not going to stop at one drink at the party. Then, be sure to drink two glasses of water for every glass of pinot noir or shot you drink. You’ll meet your water goals, decrease dehydration from the alcohol, curb hunger, and reduce the amount of booze you drink overall.
Be the Life of the Party: No, I’m not talking about the guest who drank too much or tells the most jokes. Be the guest who starts an activity that gets people away from the table or away from the football games on TV. At the family gathering, break out the board games. Join the carolers. Start a snowball fight. Go ice skating. Shovel snow! You get the idea.
Now it’s your turn. What are YOUR favorite tips for surviving holiday food temptation? Share in the comments below or on my Facebook page.