photo source: http://www.southernliving.com/food/holidays-occasions/christmas-holiday-side-dish-recipes-00417000068900/page31.html

photo source: http://www.southernliving.com/

 

You try to be healthy all year, and then along come the holidays and it seems like all your efforts are thrown out the window.

One of the biggest joys of the holiday season is the food, but when the emphasis turns to sweets and binge eating, food can quickly become one of the biggest sources of holiday stress.

Here are some ways you can have a healthy relationship with food through the holidays, stress free.

 

Emphasize the Good

Have you ever made a list of foods you won’t allow yourself to eat over the holidays?

And when you came face-to-face with these “forbidden” foods, were you actually able to resist them?

Didn’t think so.

In fact, you probably ended up binging on numerous occasions.

By the time the new year rolled in, you felt so guilty about your indulgences and made a new year’s resolution to reverse the damage.

This cycle of restriction followed by exuberant indulgence followed by restriction is anything but healthy.

So, this year, instead of putting all your attention on the foods you shouldn’t eat, try re-focusing to emphasize what you should eat.

If you have solid meals composed of a few delicious meats and lots and lots of vegetables, there will be little room for sugary additions.

Plus, it’ll be a lot harder to go overboard when you do eat a less-than-wholesome treat.

Come to Your Senses

Eating mindfully is one of the best ways to feel satisfied with your meal.

When you are distracted or rushed as you eat, you are less in touch with your body.

This makes you much more likely to overeat, and then crave foods even after you’re full.

To avoid this, pay attention to the color, smell, texture, and taste of your food, and notice how your body feels as you eat.

 

This is especially true when you’re indulging in a treat.

If you’re going to eat a cookie, for example, really savor it and enjoy it.

Appreciate how pretty it is before you bite into it, smell it, close your eyes as you chew it, and be present for every moment of its delicious sweetness.

Heck, you’re eating the cookie, so you might as well get the most out of it!

And you’ll be a lot less likely to reach for another one if you give it your full attention.

 

Second Helpings

If you’re like me, holiday meals are just not the same without a second helping.

But you can still avoid eating beyond your comfort limit if you strategize.

When you fill your plate the first time, take smaller portions. That way you can get more of your favorites the second time around.

After you’ve gotten your second helping, stop!

If you’re still hungry after your second plate of food, give your stomach time to catch up.

Re-evaluate your hunger after 20 minutes. You’ll probably find you don’t need thirds.

 

Herbal Tea

One of the biggest obstacles to health during the holidays is the seemingly endless supply of warm sugary drinks.

If holidays just aren’t the same without the eggnog (or peppermint hot-cocoa, or cinnamon-caramel latte, or whatever it is for you), go ahead and have a cup.

Once you’ve had one (and enjoyed it mindfully, as mentioned above,) switch over to herbal tea. You’ll get the same comfort from a warm cup in your hands, but a lot less sugar!

 

Give Away Your Bounty

For many families, part of the fun around the holidays is making batches of cookies, candies, pies, and cakes.

Of course, you then find yourself with a mountain of sugary snacks that “shouldn’t go to waste”, and end up eating a lot more than you normally would.

If your holidays just aren’t complete without marathon baking sessions, give away the majority of treats to friends, family, and co-workers.

Or even better: give them to people in your community who might not have the time or the resources to bake their own.

 

Tis the season of giving, and when done right, it can also be the season of health!

 

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