Three Holiday Eating Tips You Haven’t Heard Before

Does this sound like you? Every year the holidays roll around and you promise yourself you’re not going to eat a solitary gingerbread man, quench your thirst with a single glass of eggnog, or touch even a teeny, tiny piece of Honey Baked Ham. And then you either stick to it and feel miserable watching everyone else devour Aunt Suzie’s famous pork-rind encrusted turducken while you’re subsisting on steamed vegetables and sunshine, or you throw in the towel and eat everything available, including the leftover, stale, kind of hard marshmallows that didn't make it into that sweet potato casserole.

What if there was a different way to approach things this year?

Eat whatever you want, really

This is not a call to eat every single cookie, schnitzel, and fruit cake that crosses your path. This is an opportunity to decide what you really want to eat. What’s special to you? What can you only eat once a year? What do you look forward to and cherish? If your mother makes the best pecan pie this side of the Mississippi, have a slice. With real whipped cream, even! One caveat: Slow down. Enjoy that pie. Notice that you’re eating it. If you’re going to eat something special, make it special. Do not eat the whole thing in three bites while arguing with your dad about his taste in music and suspenders. And remember, store-bought cookies with an ingredient list longer than your arm are not special. Save your indulgences for a true indulgence!

Remain calm in the face of the clam dip

The holiday season is filled with obligations. Work parties to go to, in-laws to tolerate, family to keep out of your personal business. All of this can lead to a very stressful couple of months, and for some people, this can mean dealing with said stress by hitting the buffet or dessert table extra hard. If that sounds like you, try this: before you go to any event that has your hackles up, take ten deep breaths and come up with a mantra to get you through. Something like “I will remain calm, this will be over soon” is good enough. Even if this isn’t your cup of tea (or eggnog?), try it at least once. No one will see you doing it, and it may help you feel more relaxed and less likely to overdo it. And, remember, if a situation is really stressing you out, get outta there!

Adjust your focus

Perhaps in years past you’ve spent the holiday season intent on counting every carb or scouring every buffet for the lowest cal options. In my experience, obsessing about the best way to eat as healthy as possible can backfire, leading to feelings of deprivation and then some good old fashion rebound eating. Instead of trying to eat an absolutely perfect diet at every party, shindig, and soiree, try focusing on something else. The great people you get to be with? The beautiful place settings? How many people are wearing ties with dancing turkeys on them? It’s up to you, but try to find something enjoyable to think about, and remember that the holiday season comes once a year, so savor it.

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