The holidays. Full of cheer and stress, giving and budgeting, food and temptation. The only time of year that sugar, carbs, and caloric decadence is the sparkly center of attention. As a food and fitness blogger and a health-conscious mom, holiday feasting can be a delicate game of mind over matter. That’s why I have five rules for holiday eating.
There are so many rules we live by, so many diets giving us the do’s and don’ts when it comes to food, and so many one-size-fits-all weight goals we make for ourselves, only to be disappointed when we can’t stick to them.
Holidays equals feasting. There’s just no way around it. And when the thought of caloric a-bombs make you feel sweaty and anxious, try following these five rules for holiday eating.
1. Break the rules – Rules are meant to be broken, right? I was at a holiday party last weekend and a friend saw me indulging in all the things I typically don’t eat – truffles, pie, cheese, and puff pastries. She looked at me in awe and said, “I never thought YOU would be eating this stuff!” Do I typically follow a clean and balanced diet? YUP. But I’m not dictated by a one-size-fits-all approach every single day! ESPECIALLY during the holidays. Because here’s the deal, my mom makes pickle dip that is the bomb, my mother-in-law always has my favorite chocolate and butterscotch coated peanuts, and my grandma is the most amazing baker that ever walked the planet. When the holidays approach, heck yeah I indulge. I know it seems like terrible advice, but it’s really not advice, it’s just the way I live. So if your holidays are about family and food as much as mine, then relax and live a little.
2. Enjoy what you consume – The whole ‘food grazing thing is pretty much the standard during our family celebrations. Christmas isn’t one sit-down dinner. It’s an all-day eating extravaganza, with so many dessert options it makes Willie Wonka look like an amateur. So instead of eating mindlessly just because it’s right in front of you, enjoy what you eat. Have a piece of pie, snack on your favorite holiday treat, and just take it in. Every bite.
3. Drink – Water that is. I’m not saying mulled wine or peppermint martinis are off the table, but try to drink SOME water during all that festive cocktailing. Not only will you feel a lot better in the morning, but you’ll save some of those mindless calories if you’re substitute a big ‘ol glass of water between drinks. Santa doesn’t want to see you hungover on your parents’ couch when he stops by…tsk tsk.
4. Chew with your mouth open – Eat while you SING, LAUGH, and TELL STORIES. Don’t obsess about what you shouldn’t put in your mouth. Don’t worry about chewing slowly. Life is short. I am insanely blessed to have all of my grandparents still with me today. And if cherishing time with them means snuggling with my grandma on the couch while sharing a slice of kuchen (a classic German dessert), or listening to old country western songs with my grandpa while eating big side of mashed potatoes and gravy, I’ll do it. Every single glorious calorie of it.
5. Eat the colors of the rainbow – Yeah yeah, fruit and veggies. That’s what you’re thinking, right? But the point is to try NEW things. People love bringing family favorites and new foods to gatherings. So try them! You never know what could turn into your new favorite. I never thought I’d love pickled herring, jalapeño jam, or duck bacon! Never know ‘till you try!
This holiday season, remember what’s important. It’s not about the calories, it’s about having a giving and grateful heart, and of course, the food. Cheers my friends!