A Holiday Eating Survival Kit

Based on the Toys R' Us holiday catalog and the red Starbucks cups I've seen all over the place, the holiday season is here. I love the holidays. I love Christmas trees, the color red, Christmas lights, decorating, Christmas cards, reindeers, elves, gift wrapping and on and on and on. This is such an awesome time of year. Time to spend with family and friends, sing, dance and rejoice. I just LOVE it.

But, I am not here to speak about holiday cheer, I am here to talk about the one "not so fun part" about the holidays. Eating healthy and self-control. Most people find the holiday season to be the most difficult. Some people just give up entirely because they can't practice self-control.

BUT WHO REALLY HAS SELF-CONTROL DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON! 

For this reason, I am compelled to write a post on curbing holiday eating. I am actually surprisingly good at this. I don't like most of the meals people cook during the holidays. The only table you have to keep me away from is the dessert table but I've found some ways to enjoy the holidays without weight gain and its worked.

  • Alcohol: This is the major culprit for most. Holiday drinks are usually made with milk, eggs, and sugar. Alcohol makes us crave what's not good for us AND makes you loosen up and forget that tomorrow you will feel bloated and gross. I try to limit my alcohol intake when I walk into a party. It's easy to rush in and get hammered - especially when everyone else around you is drunk. Sometimes you think "oh no, I better catch up." Instead, I'll grab my drink of choice - typically a glass of wine or rum and coke and sip it for awhile. I'll eat my meal FIRST and always follow every drink with a bottle of water. Sure, it makes you go to the bathroom more often but do we really STILL care who breaks the seal first?
  • Veggies: If you bring anything to a party ALWAYS bring the vegetables. Who cares if no else eats them. Cut up some raw veggies and put them on a dish. They can be your easy go-to-snack. Much better than the potato chip bowl. Oh, and if you need dip . . . make your own with greek yogurt. Lead the charge and people will follow you.
  • Potluck dinners: These can get dangerous. Everyone makes their favorite dish and it somehow always turns out to be something unhealthy - fried, buttered, oily, greasy . . you know what I mean. Always offer to bring a healthy dish. Perhaps a side dish that will compliment all the rest. Then, fill your plate with more of the healthy stuff and just a pinch of the other stuff - if you care to taste it that is. 
  • Dessert: When it comes to dessert, I am always ready to eat. I have a sweet tooth and it's a true weakness. It's my kryptonite. I follow the "is this really worth the calories" rule. For the most part, I know cheesecake typically isn't for me. Same goes with pies BUT if I see something that looks interesting, I will take a little piece and taste it. If it's not worth the calories then I won't go any further. If it's absolutely delicious then I will take a larger piece. This method usually makes the person who made it really happy because they think I am having a "second helping."
  • Taking food home. Most holiday parties I go to, people are begging you to take home their leftovers. If you don't have a huge family to feed, don't let them give you trays and trays full of stuff. Pack it up yourself or decline politely. You don't really want all that rice, do you?
I hope these tips help you get through the holiday season. Remember, the holidays aren't about eating. They are about socializing with family and friends. Relax, have fun, and don't worry about the food.
Lastly, if you are concerned with scheduling your workouts, I typically make sure to work out in the morning before a party. It helps me feel better about the calories consumed. Also, in the case that you do wake up feeling bloated and gross, you can at least say "good thing I went to the gym yesterday."
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!