By Laura Gaffney, intern and guest blogger from Northwestern University.
As we find ourselves in the middle of the holiday season, many of us have a schedule full of gatherings, parties and events. This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love spending time with family and friends, laughing and having a good time. The holidays can bring feelings of guilt, stress, overeating, and many other things. The following are some basic tips to help handle those situations. Food is a delicious thing and we should not let it control how we feel about ourselves during the holiday season.
Sometimes those gatherings mean platters full of food that look delicious and tempt us to devour them. This brings up either forbidding different foods at the holidays or indulging yourself a little more than you wanted to. What if instead you looked around and picked out a few of your favorite things to eat and had an adequate portion of each? I have found that the more you forbid a food, the more you desire it. By enjoying a small amount of say, the decadent dessert a friend of yours baked, you are still enjoying something you find satisfying instead of letting a food make a rule for you.
I always think a good strategy when attending parties is to survey the scene. Take a glance around and observe what different foods are out there. Choose a few from different food groups that you enjoy; make yourself a well balanced plate; and indulge your palate there.
There is another situation that you might run into at a gathering. What if the event is different than you had expected? You may have expected a full meal so you didn't have a meal before and instead you come to find there is only chips and salsa. This is the point in which you have the opportunity to take care of yourself and ask for what you need. Most hosts/hostess won't be offended if you let them know you haven't eaten and ask to make yourself a peanut butter sandwich. Or another option would be to excuse yourself for 30 minutes and go grab something to eat so you do not fill up on chips and salsa. But if you do it is important to remember that it is only one night and it is not going to ruin your healthy eating habits.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tools with handling your food choices this holiday season. If you want to learn more about holiday eating and have the opportunity to ask questions, you can find more information and sign up for "Holiday Eating Unwrapped" on Tuesday December 9th in Lakeville at the following link http://www.enlightenunutrition.com/events.html
Val Schonberg is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian who specializes in weight management, sports nutrition, disease