Four rules for eating smart during the holidays

by Rebekah — cooked up on December 2, 2011

So, it’s the holiday season, and there’s going to be many many treats coming our way. Plus we’ll probably have to cook for ourself  at home in the midst of all those treats, and the temptation will be to go for the frozen and/or boxed stuff probably more often than we should.

Here are a few rules that I like to stick to, especially when there’s holiday goodies afoot:

1) Know thy snacks.
There’s no need to demonize snacks if we aren’t abusing them. Just make sure they are actually providing something useful like fiber, vitamins, healthy fats or sugar that naturally occurs in fruits (by which I mean raw or dried fruits with nothing added). Good snacks will give a much-needed energy and keep you from reaching for carby, processed crap. A few of my favorites: nuts, fresh fruit, granola,
a few slices of cheese or hummus with carrots/celery.

2) Know thy froofy drinks.
My goodness, but I love me some peppermint mocha. And Dr. Pepper. Not together. Anyway, acknowledging that these drinks are desserts and not normal food is a much more realistic way of looking at them. Desserts are ok! We just need to treat them like desserts, because a cup of black coffee has about 10 calories and a mocha has more than 300.

3) Know thy tummy
The human stomach usually is about one liter in volume when it’s full of food, but it can stretch to be much bigger if you force it to. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve eaten many meals over this volume. But I’m trying to keep a closer eye on it, and visualizing whether or not my plate of food would fit into a one-liter bottle has definitely helped me be realistic about the right amount of food to eat.

4) Know thyself.
Be honest with yourself about what you’re eating and how much you’re exercising, and don’t rationalize.

Of course as I write this I had two different snacks in my office yesterday and a holiday party after work, so I have some work to do. Today I have more of that couscous and a banana for lunch. Here’s to staying on track!

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