by Shannon Traphagen
We all love the holidays. It’s a time of family gatherings, endless tables of food, work parties, and grandmother telling you, “Eat, I didn’t cook all this to go to waste.” But surviving the holidays is all about strategy. There’s no need to wave a white flag when you realize you have several parties to attend this holiday season. Just be proactive—and by that I don’t mean wearing a pair of elastic “Joey” pants to dinner (for those fans of the TV show Friends). Instead put a game plan together to help you survive mindless holiday snacking and gorging at parties.
Start your day with a heart healthy and nutritious breakfast, low in calories, but high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber in oatmeal will keep you fueled and energized until lunchtime and will ward off the need to pick at the holiday snack bowl. Try a ½ cup of quick oats with some fresh berries and plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. I happen to really like Faye yogurt, due to the lower sugar count.
At lunch skip starchy options such as pasta, white bread or French fries. Instead, opt for filling complex carbohydrates like lentil salad, black bean soup or chicken breast, with sides of steamed veggies or brown rice. This will keep you fueled and satiated all afternoon. Work parties or holidays gatherings tend to take place in the evenings, so a simple bowl of quinoa with dried cranberries will keep you full all day long and give you room for guilt free snacking at that holiday party.
With foods like turkey, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing with sausage and cranberry sauces readily available this time of year, a health conscience diet would be lucky to survive. Plan your month accordingly by eating lean proteins and higher amounts of “greens.” Incorporating baby spinach, Brussels sprouts, baked wild salmon, quinoa or kale into your dinner prep will give you a boost of antioxidants, and the greens are an excellent source of low fat protein. In meal planning, don’t skip breakfast or lunch just to allow for higher food consumption at a dinner party. It is not only unhealthy, but the only thing you’ll do by saving up the entire day’s allotment of calories is overeat at dinner because you’re starving. Eating three square meals a day, along with healthy snacking, actually speeds up metabolism, thereby helping you burn more calories.
Also, opt for the appetizer sized plate when faced with a smorgasbord of food. This allows you to control portion size and deters you from piling a mound of food on a teeny tiny plate. Or, you can offer to bring a dish to pass. This guarantees you will have at least one healthy option, and gives you a chance to show off those cooking skills. It’s always courteous to ask the host/hostess if it’s ok. Bringing a healthy dish to pass might just inspire others to make healthier New Year’s resolutions! Also check out my blog, Diet Suggestion at www.smtraphagen.wordpress.com for more ideas.