The holiday season is a fun and exciting time of year. With the never-ending parties and family social events, it can also be busy and stressful. While it’s fun at the time to eat, drink and be merry, later you may end up feeling guilty and stressed that you overindulged. This year, things can be different! With some planning and a few strategies, you can still enjoy the fun and festivities with your friends and family, without the holiday hangover in the New Year.
Tip #1: Think Ahead and Make a Holiday Season Plan
You probably want to spend lots of time with your close friends and family during the holiday season. Early in the season, take stock of the parties and social events that you are invited to, and ask yourself which events are a priority for you to be at.
Pick the parties and social events that are most important for you to attend and politely decline the rest. It’s ok to spend that extra time just curling up by the fire with your kids or grandchildren.
Tip #2: Have a Solid Self Care Plan
It can be easy to neglect self-care at this time of year and many people tend to overeat when they are feeling stressed or anxious. Plan some time to decompress from the holiday hustle and bustle.
Having a plan for self-care may include a mix of physical activity, quiet time, sleep, rest and relaxation. Take some time to read a book or go for a quick walk outside.
Tip #3: Eat Mindfully at Work
During the holiday season, the lunch room table can be a huge temptation. Everyone is bringing in sugary sweets and clients or partners often drop by with a goodie tray. It can be easy to mindlessly grab a cookie or square every time you walk by. Often, this is just out of habit, and you may not be taking the time to enjoy it. If you can, limit your trips to the lunch room or sit down and take the time to fully indulge your senses with one goodie per day. Better yet – help balance out the sweets and treats by contributing a platter of fruit or some raw veggies with hummus.
Tip #4: Enjoy Parties and Social Events Without Overindulging
With parties and social events, it’s important to keep your hunger in check. Taking the edge off your hunger will help curb the urge to overeat. Before the party or event, have a small snack with a mix of proteins and carbohydrates. Try an apple with peanut butter or a piece of toast with an egg or cheese.
It’s also important to watch your intake of alcohol. Alcohol can pack a punch in terms of calories. Try alternating an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink or a lower calorie drink like a wine spritzer.
Tip #5: Savour your Favourite Holiday Foods without Guilt
Finally, the most important strategy; savouring and enjoying your favourite holiday foods without guilt. Instead of mindlessly eating chips and other foods that are available year-round, focus on special holiday foods. Have a small piece of grandma’s pumpkin pie or a sugar cookie or two. And when you dig into that pumpkin pie or eat those cookies, enjoy and savour every bite without guilt. Keep in mind that food plays a large role in social and cultural traditions and helps bring people together.
– Linda Gilmour Kessler, Dietitian @ Save-On-Foods Prince Albert