With two weeks to Thanksgiving, I've been thinking more and more about how to indulge in delicious holiday dishes without having to go up a pant size. So I was interested to read a BeWell Q&A with Deborah Balfanz, PhD, who teaches a weight management class for the Health Improvement Program at Stanford, about how to keep your caloric intake in check these next few months.
In the entry, Balfanz talks about how unrealistic expectations can sabotage our best efforts to eat healthy during the holidays and offers tips for reducing the temptation to overeat. She says:
One way to indulge "with purpose" is to make sure you don't show up to a party starving. You know you're not supposed to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. The same is true for parties. Many people make the mistake of "saving up their calories" for the party. But that plan backfires because when we're ravenous; our self-control goes out the window and we consume way too many calories. Instead, consider eating a healthy snack before going to a party, such as yogurt mixed with high fiber cereal, or some low-fat cheese with fruit. Once you're at the party, instead of going on “auto pilot” and digging into every dish, do a quick survey of the treats. Of the less healthy dishes, select two or three you really want to try. (For me, it's deviled eggs!) For the rest of the meal, stick to healthier options, such as crudité, fresh fruit, salads, and lean meats.
To help ensure that there is a healthier food option, volunteer to bring some food to a party. Fresh veggies with a low-fat dip, fresh fruit, low-fat cheese and multi-grain crackers, whole wheat pita and hummus, or chilled shrimp are all healthy, easy-to-prepare options. And you know that the party host will appreciate it.