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Holiday dining survival guide

How to plan and prepare for healthy meals during busy season


ovember through January boasts a plethora of holidays, most of which are well known and celebrated all over. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s typically involve parties and gatherings that oftentimes take us away from our own dinner table. Everyone, even family, tends to celebrate differently, however, with a little thought and planning, you can rejoice in the season, regardless of the venue and the menu.

TIP NO. 1 Forgo saving yourself for that special holiday meal Skipping meals before the holiday feast with the intent to save calories typically results in consuming more food at the celebration. When you are starving it becomes difficult to make healthy choices and the body craves sugar and fat to instantly suppress the hunger pangs. Smaller, more frequent meals enhance metabolism and curb binging on holiday treats. A great plan of action is to begin the day by eating a healthy breakfast complete with protein and complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal with almonds or hard boiled eggs and fruit. About one to two hours before the gathering, have a light snack along with a bottle of water to take the edge off your appetite and keep your blood sugar in check.

TIP NO. 2 Offer to bring a healthy dish to parties When appropriate, ask the party host ahead of time if you can bring a dish. The selection of unhealthy 54


Another solution, which may have been common in your childhood, is to move your food around your plate and eat the dish you can enjoy first. Then, consolidate the foods you dislike onto one side so your plate does not look full.

TIP NO. 4 Drink often, eat slowly and talk regularly BY CAREY STITES foods served can be irresistible and by bringing a healthy dish, you can plan to be worry-free at the gathering knowing there is something wholesome available to eat. Additionally, the party host will likely appreciate the kind act. Ideas include a vegetable platter with hummus, seasonal fruit salad or baked tortilla chips and salsa.

TIP NO. 3 Have a plate plan Before filling your plate, devise a plan of attack. Begin by taking a smaller plate (if available) and scout out your favorite dishes. Browse the food selection to find out what you really want and what you can pass up without feeling deprived. Fill your small plate to the rim if you desire — you will have to dish up less per serving. Additionally, try to follow the tablespoon rule and only serve up about a tablespoon of your favorite holiday splurge dishes onto your plate. For buffet style holiday meals, avoid the temptation of returning for seconds by sitting as far away from your favorite foods as possible.

Occasionally, the main holiday dish might be a food you plain dislike, is unhealthy or relentlessly overcooked. The trick? Before putting food into your mouth, take a sip of your drink. Then right after eating take another drink to aid in the swallowing process. Not only does the liquid help dissipate the flavor and help the overcooked dish go down, drinking while eating tends to encourage the feeling of fullness, which means you eat less. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese people tend to chew their food less than lean people do, regardless of the food or bite size. The study found when people chewed their meals more than usual, the hormones regulating satiety and fullness increased. Overall, researchers concluded increasing chewing activity could become a valuable tool to reducing caloric intake and weight loss. Be chatty. Catch up with relatives and friends who you have not seen in while. Begin with the familiar ice breaker of “how have you been?” and tune in to the life stories you have missed over the year. Likewise, think of two important events which summarize your year and share those as well. By the

Tex Appeal Magazine | December 2017  
Tex Appeal Magazine | December 2017