The honey roasted chicken beckons you with its golden hue. The grilled barbecue seems taunting you as you gaze at the table laden with happiness and cheer. Outside, children are singing Christmas carols. Christmas time is here. Getting healthy for the holidays seems a little bit daunting when warm holiday feelings makes you want to settle down on a nice comfy couch, relax and nibble on that huge fruit cake. But all is not lost there is hope indeed!
Although healthy Christmas food may seem to be a misnomer or a contradiction of sorts, these actually do exist. Some may balk at the thought of not having honey glazed roasted chicken wafting through the air. Other may say that a little piece of everything could help make that Christmas fat disappear. Finally, some may even proffer the notion of having a stationary bike nearby. Here are some healthy holiday eating tips that could help you win the battle of the bulge without being a Grinch.
1. Anticipate and Imagine.
You know that your mom’s going to cook that favorite dish of yours at exactly 9 PM. It will have exactly the same delightful smells, sights and reactions. “You’re not going to have any? A little bit won’t hurt. Come, have a few. Christmas food should not be wasted.”
2. Plan and respond. When it comes to family, saying “No.” may often evoke some familial tensions that’s not good for the holiday cheer. After all, when everybody is seated on the table, after the wine and the stories, comes the difficult part: eating and partaking. By planning and preparing a response, you would have conditioned your mind to imagine what exactly will happen. You will also know how you will feel as it is happening and then condition your mind that you are committed to having healthy holidays this season.
3. Make a vegetable salad, bring it and then attack it! There’s a huge world out there of healthy salad recipes that’s fit for Christmas that will give you an excuse. If the gathering requires you to bring potluck food, then volunteer the salad. We leave you the choice of what to put in it, but filling options include lettuce, tomatoes, whole wheat bread, carrot sticks and fruits. Make it green, red and yellow. If you really need some meat on it, add some tuna in brine or in natural oil. Eat lots! Enjoy and you will be able to control your intake of the other viands. Remember: attack the salad!
4. Water the desserts. Is that fruitcake too irresistible? Have a bite, then drink two glasses of water. Is your favorite ice cream lurking around the freezer? Go ahead, have a spoon or two, with a glass of water ready at hand. The small amount that you’ve helped yourself with will do wonders. While the glass of water, will ruin the after taste. But in doing so, you have satiated the need but watered it down.
5. Is sugar just too powerful? Gorge on healthy Christmas desserts. The stress of the holidays has a psychological link to the lure of sugary goodness. The good news is, you can work around it. Having lots of fruit strategically placed in the house solves this. Put a basket of fruits in the middle of the living room. Put some within reach beside the refrigerator where you typically keep the other unhealthy snacks. It really works. Oh, and by the way, avoid the lure of soda and other soft drinks.
6. If all else fails, have a bag of healthy Christmas snacks. Let’s be honest with ourselves, family gatherings or company parties are just plain stressful. When people are stressed they eat. It doesn’t matter what they eat, the mind is just trained to convince the body to eat when something is bothering an individual. The psychology of it all aside, unless you have a steel will or superb mind control over yourself, bring a pack of freshly cut and washed carrots, lettuce or your fruit slash vegetable of choice. Keep them fresh, nearby and ready at hand as you would a tazer if you’re going out at night. When the inevitable social drama crops up, you have your bag of goodies.
7. It’s all fun and games. If you totally failed in steps 1 to 6 and have failed to stick to healthy Christmas treats, there is a last resort you can run to: games. No, I’m not talking about playing with the Xbox or charades or some sedentary game, I’m talking about physical games. If you live in that part of the world where there’s snow, you can still play indoors or find a suitable venue. Schedule it, make it a cornerstone in your family’s activity. Whether it’s bowling, basketball, table tennis or some other indoor sport, it’s the perfect way to shed some of those extra calories while at the same time, engaging in something social.
So, that’s it, these seven at times may seem unconventional, but it’s been tried and tested. Eating healthy holidays is a delicate balancing act that most of us do fail. However you may fare in the challenges ahead, know that you will not be alone in the track or gym after the holidays have passed. But if you do win this battle of the mind, do tell us about your wonderful Christmas food story. We’d be delighted to hear about it.