The holidays are here and whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em one thing is certain, there’s no escaping them entirely. They start with pumpkin lattes, apple crisp, and candy corn and end weeks later with millions of people cursing themselves for falling into the holiday food trap. But it doesn’t have to be that way. No matter what your outlook is, there are ways to get around the food and beverage hype while enjoying what should be a happy and social time of year.
My first piece of advice…
Realize that the holidays are just that – a few days, and just because advertisers start ramming them down our throats early on, doesn’t mean we have to accept it. Call me Scrooge (honest, I’m not) but there’s no way I’m going to start giving coffee shops, bakeries, and candy stores more of my hard earned money just because they want me to celebrate the season every minute of the day for the next few months.
And as for office parties and baking co-workers, well, there are ways to get around that too and still enjoy yourself.
Below are my 15 tips to surviving the holidays.
1. Tighten up your eating plan now. Why wait until right before the major event. Small healthy changes made now will become habit and you will be happy you made changes early on.
2. Don’t let added stress get the best of you. Make sure to exercise and get enough sleep. Prioritize your schedule and ask for help if you need it. Think positively and don’t obsess, the world won’t end because you don’t have time to do something.
3. Always have a small, healthy snack handy. A few nuts, raw veggies, fruit, a small slice of cheese, dark chocolate (At least 70% cocoa), yogurt, pretzels, or air popped popcorn will help stave off hunger and keep you from making impulsively bad choices.
4. Eat before you go. Before you reach your party destination, have a bowl of oatmeal or piece of fruit or veggie wrap.
5. Offer to bring your favorite healthy dish. You already like it, plus you know exactly what is in it.
6. Get yourself off to a perfect start. Once you arrive at the party, look over all of your food choices, and then make your first selection a healthy one. Wait at least 15 minutes before returning to the table.
7. Use a small dessert plate.
8. Go shopping. Buy yourself a flattering holiday outfit, one that makes you look and feel great.
9. Pay attention to your alcohol consumption. If you drink, remember that it isn’t always the alcohol itself, but the mixer that can cause unnecessary wasted calories. Add club soda to a flavored vodka or sparkling water to your wine.
10. Be a food snob. If you don’t love it, leave it.
11. Keep your hands occupied. Holding a beverage in one hand and clutch purse in the other will make it hard to reach for food.
12. Be the last in line. The buffet looks gorgeous if you’re the first one to it, but once a large amount of people go through, it’s not quite as appetizing.
13. Help the host. By volunteering to wash a few dishes, or make drinks, you become involved with everyone else, which leaves less time to hang out around the food table.
14. Never take home leftovers, even if your host insists, discreetly leave the dish somewhere or give it to someone else.
15. Don’t beat yourself up. If you splurge, give yourself a hug, a pep talk, and start fresh.
Taking the time to plan ahead is what makes the difference between cursing or smiling as the new year approaches.