Fitness with Finesse: Healthy Holiday Dinner, Take Two

 

I’ll admit it: I did not do the health Gods proud over Thanksgiving break. The thrill of a home-cooked meal combined with my favorite Thanksgiving dishes (Can you say pie??) was enough to make me forget all about eating healthy, let alone eating proportionally. I’m all for enjoying the holidays and the food that only comes once a year, but winter break seems to be another pitfall to eating bad food and a lot of it.

Before you go home this week, catch up on some tips and tricks to prevent overeating but still have a great time.

1.     Sit Down!

You know how your mom always puts out that cute little snack tray of crackers and cookies? It’s not on your side. If you’re anything like me, you walk by, take a cookie, walk by again, take a cracker, then give up, and then take a bunch of cookies and crackers! Try limiting your eating habits to when you are sitting down with a plate and utensils (aka meal time). Studies have shown that you eat 30 percent less when you sit down to eat, and not because of some weird body process or etiquette style, but because you give yourself time to realize how much you are truly eating and enjoy every bite. 

2.     Focus on Proteins, Soups, and Good Old Fruits and Vegetables

Basically, anything that will fill you up is your friend. Protein-packed meat or potatoes will fill you up without too many calories, and a delicious soup tastes good while also filling up your stomach and telling your brain you are full! It takes a while for you to realize just how full you are and to (finally) stop eating; therefore, focusing on food that will do the job for you is perfect, not to mention tasty. Of course, real fruits and vegetables – talking green beans here, not sweet potato casserole à la marshmallows and butter – always allow you to eat large amounts without the added calories. 

3.     Pick out your favorites.

Dying for some of that chocolate covered (insert anything here)? Me too. You know what? Go for it, just remember to skip out on the pies and cookies that are right next to it. We can’t subsist on vegetables all three weeks of break, and it is quite alright to enjoy the holidays a little bit!  

4.     As a last resort...

Too much food that you can’t seem to resist? Try peppermint. Not only is the taste of peppermint wired to signal, “I’m done eating,” to your brain, but it also gives your mouth something to focus on besides that piece of fudge. So grab a candy cane and stay in the spirit, this way you don't regret it when you get back to school.

Above all, don’t obsess over food. Work out for an extra half hour or so the day before your big meal, and plan on working out extra the day after. We all know there is no way I’m going running on Christmas or New Years! I really believe everything is good in moderation; so, instead of attempting the “I only eat salad and green beans,” holiday, enjoy your favorite dessert without worrying about it.

Happy Holidays!