Holiday Eating Strategies

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Happy Thanksgiving!  I know I’m a little late to the game, but *phew*  Thanksgiving was a whirlwind around here!

Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving are always parent teacher conferences, which means late nights at school– legit 12 hour days.  On top of that, this year I missed both my classes because, yep, I have class on Monday and Tuesday nights.  So I had to take a makeup test on Wednesday before we left town for the holiday!  We traveled a little farther than normal this year and got to see more family than we usually do.  Then it was home to get our real life back on track before it was back to the grind this week.

Reliving that makes me exhausted all over again!

Anywho….the holidays can be a stressful time for those of us who are trying to eat clean and healthy.  It seems that everywhere you turn is another high fat, high sugar treat calling your name.  So with that:  here are five tips to not just survive, but actually enjoy the holidays.

1.  Enjoy it— remember that what happens between Christmas and Thanksgiving will have a much larger effect on your health than what happens between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  So my first tip for the holidays is to enjoy that piece of pumpkin pie, have an extra cookie, and drink that eggnog.  It only comes once a year.

2.  Don’t get hangry–  If you are anything like me, when you go too long without eating you get cranky and short tempered.  And then when you finally get food in front of you, you overeat to compensate.  During the holidays, meal schedules can fly out the window.  Cocktails, finger foods, and one gigantic meal in the middle of the day can wreak havoc with your blood sugar.  Keep a handy stash of healthy snacks at home or in your car so that you can keep your blood sugar stable and prevent bingeing when you finally get to the party.
3.  Choose wisely–  What’s your favorite holiday treat?  What could you take or leave?  If it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without your mom’s sticky buns, have a sticky bun.  If you don’t love stuffing (dressing? filling?) but you eat it because it’s tradition- skip it this year.  Take an extra serving of the roasted vegetables and just a taste of jello salad.  The key here is to pick and choose so that you are making the best choice available at the time but aren’t feeling deprived (see tip 1).
4.  Work in a work out– You don’t have to run the turkey trot on Thanksgiving morning.  What about starting a new tradition this year:  Go ice skating with your family, have a ping pong tournament, or play backyard football.  If the family time is getting overwhelming, it’s also a good excuse to go for a solo run to get some alone time.
5.  Stress less–  Stress does weird things to our bodies.  That’s another post for another time, but for now know that it is important to keep holiday stress in check.  Online shopping, scheduling down time, not beating yourself up over the store bought pie that you brought to Aunt Millie’s:  all these things will help keep your holiday stress down and will help you enjoy the holidays more.
My favorite holiday food is Christmas cookies.  I don’t eat cookies for the majority of the rest of the year, but it just wouldn’t feel like the holidays with some Rudolph cutouts with a red-hot for his nose.  So this year, I am determined to enjoy the holidays by eating Rudolph’s nose.  And now you go enjoy that pumpkin pie.
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