This is an exciting time of year for everyone. Halloween is not so far behind us, Thanksgiving is coming up, soon the Christmas/Holiday parties will start to roll in and before we know it, it’ll be New Year’s Eve!
If you eat any sort of restrictive diet (vegan, vegetarian, raw, low-carb), or you’re simply trying to keep some weight off, this can be a tricky time of year. Unless you live in an organic vegan haven or your hippie parents raised your entire family vegetarian, chances are you’re the only one who thinks you should trade in the turkey and gravy for a delicious soup this year. Since that’s likely not a realistic option, I’ve got a few tips for getting through the holidays without any guilt or extra pounds.
First, I’d like to remind you that everyone deserves to indulge every once in a while. If you don’t, you’re missing out on some of life’s most succulent experiences. For some people, that means enjoying a nice piece of meat, for others it’s bread, for many it’s dessert, and for most it’s wine! Let’s not forget, life is all about balance. Indulge a little today, work a little harder tomorrow, and everything will be okay. Just don’t make a habit of over indulging all the time. Pretty simple, right?
Here are a few different strategies for controlling your indulgences this year:
Learn from the French – Use Portion Control. It is often said that the reason French women never get fat is because they have an innate talent for portion control. They indulge in decadent, creamy, rich dishes all the time… but only eat the tiniest amounts. This can most certainly be applied to the holidays. Allow yourself to eat some turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and even pumpkin pie – just keep everything within reason. A trick I like to use is restricting my meal to one plate and ensuring the plate is ¾ full of vegetables… and not overflowing with food. If you feel like crap after your meal, you’ve probably over done it. Try to remember that uneasy feeling next time so you can adjust accordingly! Dying for some pie? Share a slice with someone or only have a few bites so you can do it again next time without feeling guilty!
Properly indulge on a few select occasions. Do not be confused, I’m not suggesting you engorge plates full of a food a few times a year. If you ever end up in a food-coma after eating, you’ve over done it and you should try to avoid getting yourself into those situations. However, I am suggesting that you choose a few select dishes or occasions where you fully indulge in something, and try not to do it every week. Instead of eating tons of lamb, turkey, sweet potatoes, pie and ice cream, choose one to fully indulge in without feeling guilty. Have a slice of pie and love every succulent crumb of it. You deserve it! Just remember that you did indulge and try to compensate for that during the next few days or at the next event.
Be prepared to bring it yourself! If you know your family meal won’t even come close to the nutritional content you’re looking for, don’t expect everyone else to make something special for you, make something special for everyone else! If you’re bringing a side dish, bring enough for everyone, and perhaps your own portion of a special meat/main replacement. Who knows, perhaps your culinary skills will get a family member interested in a healthier way of eating!
And of course, always be sure to squeeze in some exercise. Look out for my next post on tips for exercising during the holidays!
P.S: If you’re looking for a great new kitchen tool over the holidays, consider a Blendtec blender from my company, Purely Juicers. Among a thousand other things, this blender would make a perfect green smoothie – a great way to make up for lacking nutrients in typical holiday fare. I mentioned an easy green smoothie recipe in my last article here. And above all, enjoy your holidays!