Maintaining some semblance of organization during the holidays is never easy. Everything takes a little bit longer, is a little bit harder and between travel to grandma’s house, mid-week breaks in work, traffic every time you go anywhere remotely near the mall and of course those who are getting a jump on their new year’s resolutions by taking your favorite treadmill (curling in MY squat rack is my biggest pet peeve!), any of these things can throw even a seasoned holiday veteran off their tracks. Many of these things are unavoidable so while we all ask for the grace to accept those, let us acknowledge the things in our lives that we can and should control over the next couple weeks. Healthy holiday eating, believe it or not, is attainable however difficult it may be. If you would rather eat with reckless abandon, stop reading now. For the rest of us, here we go.
We are directing our focus to holiday nutrition for a couple reasons;
A) It doesn't matter what philosophy/religion you subscribe to, you will be assaulted by cookies, fruitcake, pies, various honey baked items and more carbs than a bakery. Fact.
B) You need to make it to the other side without derailing your health goals for the coming year.
Without further ado, here is our top 5 ways to manage your intake during the next 3 weeks.
The purpose of a smoothie is two-fold. For starters, you can throw a month’s worth of vegetables in a smoothie, add a banana and Voila’! That’s a good smoothie. They say that time heals all wounds but I would like to change that to “bananas heal all smoothie flavors.” Smoothies are an incredible way to get in your servings of fruit and vegetables without any additional cooking. The second reason is more convenient than anything but consider the scenario where you show up to grandma’s house with a single serve salad topped with flax, almonds, cranberries, avocado, fruit lining your pockets and a little balsamic vinaigrette bottle in tow? Bottom line, smoothies are mobile and non-invasive. Grandma might get offended if you showed up with your own food (read: hers isn't good enough!) but because the act of drinking your calories is psychologically less invasive, we get a free pass. Use that free pass to your advantage.
2) Snack, do not graze!
We’re all guilty of grazing, myself included. Grazing is the nonchalant act of walking by the appetizer table every 5 minutes and pretending we are seeing the four cheese butter biscuits for the first time (every time). Here is a running monologue of the grazer, maybe it sounds familiar. “I’m not really hungry but I’m going to take a look at what we have...…Oh! 4 cheese butter biscuits, what a treat! I’d better have one and that will hold me off until dinner….” Repeat every 5 minutes until dinner is ready. Snacking is different in that it is a deliberate ONE time trip to the table where you have the opportunity to look down and quantify what is on the plate. Which brings me to my next point…
3) Get a plate!
A common adage states that if you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out immediately and recognize the danger that the boiling water poses to its well being. However, if you put a frog in tepid water and slowly raise the flame to the boiling point the frog will acclimate to it’s increasingly uncomfortable conditions until the moment it dies. The moral of the story? Don’t nickel and dime your way to a full belly. Grabbing a few handfuls of chips is a lot more ambiguous than loading up your plate 3 times. To be successful you must be deliberate in your intentions.
4) Save Room for Dessert.
You read that right. I want you to eat dessert. And why not? You've been good all year, cut loose and have a slice of homemade Dutch apple pie tonight. Why am I suddenly an advocate for chocolate chip cookies? Because you are going to budget accordingly for that very valuable space in your stomach before dinner is even served. Plan to eat dinner in moderation and there is no reason why you shouldn't splurge a little on some homemade frost of the pumpkin.
5) Cool down
I, like many of our patients see many things from an athletic point of view. Approaching the holidays isn't exactly a grudge match but I like to apply the same principles of sport to full contact eating. If you have followed the rules thus far, you have enjoyed a fair amount of appetizers, a satisfying dinner and even some of your seasonally exclusive favorite desserts. Now is the time that you usually slip into a food coma and aren't heard from again until Thanksgiving. Not this year! You are going to grab a cup of coffee/hot chocolate/tea and go for a nice little walk outside. Heck, invite others to join you! The activity of walking will help peristalsis which is the physical process of digestion. Trust me, you will feel much better if you can kick start the process of assimilating those nutrients vs sitting idle on the couch.
Follow these 5 steps and you can be reasonably assured that you won’t regret your actions this holiday season come January 1st. As always, be safe while traveling over the next few weeks and we look forward to hearing your success stories.
From our family at Foundation Chiropractic to yours, have a safe and blessed Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year!
CREATED BY: DAN VILLARREAL