By Tracey Kurland
Dietetic Intern, Teachers College, Columbia University
It’s that beautiful time of year again—the holidays—a time we get to enjoy being with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations are centered around food and drinks, most often high calorie indulgences that we usually only consume during this time of year. We, at Pollock Communications, a health and wellness public relations firm in New York City, created some healthy tips to guide you through this holiday season. Working with healthcare professionals, brands that are committed to providing healthy products, and with a team of dietitians on staff, we are excited to share what we do to eat well for the holidays.
It might seem as if the food and nutrition media world inundates us with recipes on how to make our favorite Christmas dish “healthy” by using tasteless substitutions – often depriving us of the delightful flavors that we look forward to all year. So, instead of giving you a number of ways to change your traditional fare, we are giving you tips to enjoy your cake, and eat it too.
1. Don’t Go to the Party Famished
Don’t go full either. We are often told to eat before we go to a party so as to not overeat on high caloric foods once we arrive, but often times, we end up eating two meals—doubling the calories. Instead, have a balanced but satiating snack a few hours before the party, we suggest: an apple and tablespoon of peanut butter, carrots and two tablespoons of hummus, a quick bowl of oatmeal, low-fat Greek yogurt or a string cheese. This way, you won’t go into the party starving and waste your calories on appetizers, but you can save your calories for something worthwhile.
2. The 3 Bites Rule
The enjoyment of food comes truly within the first few bites and diminishes thereafter. After the first few bites of that big gooey chocolate cake, the experience of it begins to fade, along with the excitement and enjoyment, and instead, it becomes more about calorie consumption. That being said, we suggest taking a slice of the chocolate cake, savoring the moment, and enjoy three bites—slowly and deliciously.
3. Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping meals will leave you hungry, tired, and make you splurge even more. Instead, eat each meal, but choose to eat lighter. This way, you’re still eating, which will lead you to still make good food decisions later in the day, but savoring some calories for your once-a-year holiday indulgences.
4. Watch your Grazing
We are all guilty of grazing—a bite of a cookie left in the kitchen, a handful of pretzels before dinner. These mindless handfuls add up and over the holiday season we need to be extra careful. So as not to gain those five pounds and still enjoy your favorites, we suggest a no-grazing policy during the holiday season. Take the time to bring healthy snack options and don’t allow your hand to senselessly reach in the candy drawer.
5. Put your Utensil Down
This forces you to eat slowly, allowing your brain and stomach to connect. We have all had that I’m-so-full-I-can’t-breath stomach pain. To try and curb this pain and let your brain realize it’s full, put your utensil down between each bite. This forces you to eat slowly, savoring the bite, enjoying your food, all with the goal of not overeating. Again, this also reminds us that the experience of eating is diminished after the first few bites, helping us to not overeat.
Happy holidays and happy eating from all of us health and wellness PR experts at Pollock Communications!