BY NICOLE GOODNO, Group Exercise Instructor
The holidays are filled with festive parties that include large quantities of delicious food. Who doesn’t love this time of year? The holidays are a time for us to “eat, drink and be merry,” but be sure to eat and drink in moderation. There’s no need to deny yourself your favorite foods, but controlling portion sizes is crucial. Here are some tips and tricks to help keep those eating habits balanced and portions in check.
When you arrive at a holiday event, take a moment to survey the scene instead of running to the food table or bar. Take some time to absorb the atmosphere, check out the spread and review the cocktail list before having anything to eat or drink. If you jump at the first plate of food, you may be setting up yourself for disaster. Instead, take some time to figure out what you really want. Doing so will help you make healthier choices.
When it comes to higher-calorie party food, chose wisely and select the foods you want most. If you love dessert and have a major sweet tooth, skip appetizers – especially if they’re the same old chips and dip or cheese and crackers – and wait for the dessert spread at the end of the night. The key is to not waste your calories on foods you don’t love so you can really enjoy the foods you do.
Many people have grown up being told to, “clean your plate.” The problem with this philosophy is that dinner plates in homes and restaurants have gotten quite a bit larger over the years – increasing the amount of food we put on them, as well. If you clean your plate now, you’re most likely overeating!
When I’m feeling especially “snacky” at a party, I don’t ignore my urges, but instead I fill up on foods with the most nutrients, such as raw veggies, nuts or olives. If I focus on the nutrients instead of calories, it helps me avoid the not-so-healthy treats.
Here’s the bottom line. Those of us who want to eat responsibly are up against a lot this time of year. However, having honed portion control skills can provide a major advantage. These skills allow us to control our calories without having to be too crazy about what goes onto our plates and into our mouths.
Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s always easy. It may take time to “unlearn” bad habits and begin to disarm the external and internal triggers that challenge willpower. Give it a go now and once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll notice buying, ordering and cooking decisions will get a whole lot easier and holiday parties will not be sources of guilt.
If you’d like more guidance on your nutrition, any of our Fitness Professionals can offer you advice. Contact the club at (414) 529-9900, ext. 730.