Battling Holiday Bloat: Healthy Eating for the Holidays

You know the feeling.   A bit of bulging at the belt.   A dull fog on the brain.  A subtle sugar rush that doesn’t quite get you past the droopy eyelids and the call of slumber.  If you can’t relate to this holiday post-meal feeling then good for you!  Most of us however know it all too well.

sleepaftereatingAs a younger man my Thanksgiving was spent over-indulging during dinner and then collapsing on the couch or floor to let the images and sounds of the day’s football games on TV wash over me.  It was decent entertainment at the time but I always felt, well, a bit compromised during the experience.  In the last decade or so I’ve been better about stemming the tide of gluttony so I thought I’d share some of my strategies and tactics with you.  Pick a few and try them out this holiday season.

  1. Eat really healthy in the days leading up to the holiday meal.  This will hopefully instill in you that healthy and clean feeling so it carries over to turkey day or any other  approaching holiday.
  2. Drink water before you go.  Often our bodies mask the need for water as hunger, so drink up before you have dinner.  It’s a great appetite suppressor as well.
  3. Take a walk in nature or around your neighborhood before or after your meal.  This is a great way to clear your head and rev up your metabolism.  It will help you think more consciously before eating, or work off some of those calories afterward.
  4. Bring a healthy favorite dish with you as your part of the event.  Make enough so that you yourself can have a substantial serving of it if you fear that the other food choices aren’t going to cut it.
  5. Avoid the junk food disguised as hor d’oeuvres.  Don’t get me wrong, some rockin’ hor d’oeuvres can usually be had but there are always those last minute filler purchases that show up from a well-intended loved one but that really aren’t the kind of goodness your body needs.  Be discerning about the nibbling.
  6. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum as it may encourage more unconscious nibbling.  I’m not saying don’t have a drink.  Just stay aware from  it as a means to drown out the holiday stress.  Take that walk I mentioned earlier or just get outside and just play.
  7. Consider your plate before you fill it.  Be conscious about how much of each kind of food you will add to your plate.  Try to air more on the side of lean protein and vegetables like this plate from Fitbomb or maybe this one from Harvard Medical School.

Pick a few of these tips and try them out this year.  Let me know in the comments if you have others you’d like to share.  If you do overeat or cave on the sweets; don’t sweat it.  We all eat off our plan from time to time.  I’m a sucker for my mom’s (and now my daughter’s) lemon squares.  Enjoy!  It’s not the end of the world.

Happy Holidays!

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