One of the foodiest of “food holidays” is just two days away, dear readers. Here is the first of two parts on how to come out the other side satisfied but unscathed. Whether you are hosting or guesting this year, these tips will help you get in the right mindset.
Enjoy your food. If you’re going to indulge in what, yes, will mostly likely be a high-calorie meal, just enjoy it. One of the worst things you can do is ingest food while under the influence of negative emotions, and guilt is definitely a negative emotion.
Don’t go “In for a penny, in for a pound.” Don’t use an indulgent food holiday as an excuse to load up on extra calories in the days (or weeks) surrounding that holiday. Anticipate the meal, enjoy the meal, then remember the meal fondly as you return to normal healthy eating habits.
Lighten up lightly. Trying to shave some fat, sugar and general calories off the Thanksgiving meal? Be careful of what you tinker with. If there are a few family favorites that Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without, it may be best to let them stay as they are, even if they involve 12 sticks of butter (OK, I exaggerate). Serve more veggies, and find healthier versions of dishes that aren’t quite so tethered to the heartstrings.
Is that a plate, or a platter? If the plate is the size of an end table, it’s too big. Trading huge “buffet size” plates and getting out something a bit smaller (if you can) would do everyone a favor. Let’s face it…most people will either go for seconds, or they won’t. A slightly smaller plate won’t change that. It’s not about hunger, it’s about habit. Eating off a smaller plate can be a powerful way to reduce food intake and calories without really noticing (i.e., without feeling painfully deprived). Why not try it out on the whole family. They probably won’t thank you for it…because they probably won’t know what you’ve done unless you tell them!
Prepare for food pushers. If you are the guest this fine Thanksgiving, and you are trying to stick to your nutritional guns, it helps to have a game plan for how to deal with any food pushers. You know, those mothers, aunts, grandmothers (why are food pushers usually women?) who encourage you to try this or have a bit more of that, even when you don’t want this or that. Being able to politely refuse, deflect or distract will serve you well. Unless there’s a hungry dog under the dinner table or an abundance of large potted plants. Remember, there’s never anything wrong with gently setting a good example by not gorging yourself.
Tomorrow, Part 2!