The holiday season is here, with it comes many gatherings with family and friends; full of music, laughter, good times and of course the holiday buffet. Food has become a central part of holiday gatherings; there's Mom's famous stuffing, Grandma's fudge, and pie, after pie, after pie. Whatever your family traditions are, I'm am almost certain some of them are food-related.
So now you are standing with an empty plate at the start of the beautiful buffet line and EVERYTHING looks delicious, and of course you want everyone to feel good that you sampled their dish... resulting in you feeling the effects of a food-coma a short few hours later.
How can you enjoy all the wonderful food without busting a gut?
Here are some tips:
1. Plan Ahead: you know the holidays will bring lots of big meals and decadent dishes you don't normally consume... the morning of a big gathering incorporate a lighter meal to offset the large meal to come. Try a green smoothie, greek yogurt or oatmeal with fresh fruit. Not every meal needs to be a feast, and by pacing yourself your body will thank you.
2. Start Fresh: when the big spread is ready, reach first for any fresh vegetables or fruit, salad or light soup to get your palate warmed up.
2. Start Small: when its time for the heartier dishes, like honey ham, mashed potatoes, roast turkey or stuffing, start with small portions. With all the different varieties to choose from, if you simply take a small dollop of each you can enjoy and savor a variety of things without feeling stuffed after only eating a large portion of only one or two dishes.
3. Eat Slowly: I realize it's easier said than done when you have been smelling the delicious feast being prepared all morning, but by eating slowly you are less likely to overeat. Thoroughly chew your food and focus on having lively conversations with your loved ones as you slowly allow your body to process your food.
4. Play Favorites: I realize that all 15 desserts look fabulous, but here is where you can play favorites... pick one or two that you truly love and leave the rest.
5. Enjoy. Savor. Repeat. The holidays are a time of merriment, thanks, and yes food. Sometimes simply accepting that you will be consuming and enjoying more food than normal during the holiday season, is all the permission you need to relax. If you stress over the pound or two you may put on during the holidays, you will likely miss out on the good times that come from this rare time of year where you should be enjoying every minute. You can cut your self some slack and follow these simple and healthy guidelines without depriving yourself of the beautiful buffet everyone else is digging into.
May your holiday season be merry and bright.