Damage Control: A holiday eating guide
The next few articles I write will have an emphasis on Holiday season wellness, a time in which many of us reduce or completely fall out of our healthy routines because of travel, impulsive eating, and increased time commitment with our families and peers.
Being ready for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the new year could mean preparing and assembling ingredients, producing an event, or attending an event…all of which take time. But that doesn’t mean that your healthy habits or routines have to fall apart completely. Here are some of my strategies with regards to food, impulsive eating, and attending special occasions.
Tip #1: Never show up to the party hungry. Have a protein shake before you leave the house, or nibble on some almonds, walnuts or beef jerky. Doing this before you arrive at any party or festivity that is centered on food will help raise your protein intake which will help stabilize your blood sugar from party type foods that are often carbohydrate centered. The other benefit of showing up already fed is that you are less likely to eat impulsively, so go ahead, enjoy the holiday treats without devouring them as a meal before the main course.
Tip #2: Choose the veggies before the sweets. Lock your eyes on the colorful veggies and fruits first, and do not reach out for chips and cookies until you have your healthy portion of whole foods into your system. This strategy also gives your brain some time to process your food intake to signal feelings of satiety, or satisfaction from eating, which could potentially reduce the amount of calories consumed from “to-die-for” holiday sweets and treats.
Tip #3: Water before beverages. Plain and simple, the more intake of water, the less likely you are to fill up on sodas, juices, and alcohol.
Tip #4: Sip, don’t gulp. As a follow up to tip #3, do the slow motion when it comes to your favorite drink. Sip and enjoy your beverage and make it last. Drinks tend to be calorie dense and the sugars and alcohol concentration would trigger an insulin spike if you have without a balanced protein source from your foods.
Tip #5: Eat what you really want, not what’s in front of you. At the risk of offending your host, sometimes it’s more polite for you to eat a portion of something you didn’t really want than to reject it completely. As an alternative, take only a bite size of those foods you’re not really interested in and you and the host can be on good terms again! Don’t routinely consume something just because it’s available, but make it worthwhile and enjoyable if you do choose to eat something festive.
No one is perfect, PERIOD! If you fall out of your routine this season, then get back on track, and plan ahead next time. Have a wonderful holiday season this year, but remember that all actions have a consequence, and strategizing about holiday eating patterns like the above tips make damage control much easier after the holiday season! Cheers!
Dr. Adrian Pujayana has been providing drug-free solutions for health and wellness to adults, athletes, and youth since 2000 through his private practice at Family Chiropractic Center of South Pasadena, a place for strength training and nutrition based health care.