By Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RD
Let’s face it. We will all tend to eat a bit more over the holidays. Perhaps not every day, but on certain days like Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, and the day after. Given this fact, would you just totally give in and ruin your diet or would you rather do something about it? Hold your horses, people! I am not such a party pooper, nor am I talking about not enjoying food this Christmas. Instead, let me give you some practical tips on how to eat pleasurably without harming your body.
First things first. Learn to navigate the noche buena spread with the utmost self-control. If you are a foodie and your eyes light up at the sight of the buffet table, get hold of yourself and pause. Breathe. Look away! Get yourself a glass of still water or unflavored sparkling water for starters. Ignore common nibblers and appetizers like nuts and the like. They are not the highlight of the menu so save the calories for the main entree. Next, go around and socialize with family members you only get to see once a year.
When it’s time to eat, do not immediately grab a plate. Go around the entire array of food selection. Decide which ones you really want to eat. I would usually go for the dishes I don’t get to eat often. And yes, that includes desserts!
When you have completely made up your mind on your food choices, go get your plate and start filling it up with a small portion of each of the dish that you prefer. For example, two tablespoons of meat dish with sauce, another two tablespoons of pasta or noodles, a small piece of perhaps fried lumpia, two tablespoons of rice, maybe a thin slice of ham, one tablespoon of sweet salad, a small square dessert, and so on. You get the idea. Avoid piling up your plate.
Drink water in between bites. Chew your food slowly instead of gobbling everything up. Savor the flavors of your food. If you have a pleasant eating experience, you will not crave for more food later on. If you are distracted, however, say when you are busy with your phone while eating, you will tend to eat faster and more.
If you must have soda, choose the zero calorie ones unless you are sensitive to artificial sweeteners. In moderation, they are safe to consume. If you wish to have a bit of alcohol, a five-oz serving for women and 10-oz serving for men should suffice. That will be about one to two glasses of wine. If you prefer beer, one bottle for women and two bottles for men would be the maximum recommendation.
Unsweetened iced tea would be a good choice, too. You would want to save as much calories from beverages. Do not drink your calories as much as possible. Water is the ultimate choice to quench your thirst.
Since fruits and vegetable dishes are not commonly served, which is very unfortunate, (No, fruit salad with condensed milk and cream doesn’t count as fruit allowance for the day. Sorry!), try to make a fruit and vegetable smoothie and have it as a snack or consume it before going to the party.
If your tummy is loaded with fiber and water, you will have very good digestion. Plus you will still get to enjoy the food served yet won’t have much space to binge.
Happy, healthy holidays!
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