While I truly do love this time of the year, it can be a real challenge for those of us “on a diet.” So in a series of shareposts throughout the season, I will reveal strategies that empower you to enjoy the holidays without packing on the pounds! Read Strategy 1: Smart Snacks
I just received an invitation to another holiday party. In fact, I go to more celebrations that focus around food at this time of year than all the other months of the year put together. I love a celebration among friends and family, but there are going to be temptations galore that call to me like the siren’s song.
As I see it, we have three choices for how we will handle holiday food:
1. Eat it all with the intention to make a New Year’s Resolution to lose the pounds we packed on.
2. Take a vow of abstinence from all things tasty.
3. Plan ahead: Indulge in menus that are extravagant yet still part of our bariatric life (or Paleo, Primal, or whatever healthy plan of eating you follow). Allow yourself some leeway, but do not overdue it with the sugars and starches.
It is hard for me to “just say no” to champagne, hors d’oeuvres, chocolates and Christmas cookies. So, rather than vow to abstain from all these goodies, which for me are part of the joy of the season, I have developed a strategy to party wisely.
Strategy 2: Holiday Party Wisely
Use Common Sense
We all know not to arrive to the party hungry: Fill up on some high quality protein before leaving the house. We also know not to stand by the food at the party and to keep our backs towards the buffet when seated. And we know to keep our mouths busy by chewing gum.
Dining Out Wisely
Try to see the menu before hand when invited to a holiday party. It really does make a difference if you can plan what you will eat and what you will stay away from.
I am going to a Christmas luncheon for which the menu thankfully was circulated ahead of time. It is quite the feast and I was glad to get the lay of the spread so I could create my plan of action.
There are a few stations of hors d’oeuvres (my weakness) before a seated lunch is served. I know to steer clear of the canapés, which surely are full of white flour, and head straight for the table of grilled vegetables, cheeses and charcuteries.
Open/cash bar is not stated, so I assume no alcohol will be served. That’s a temptation that fixed itself. Had alcohol been offered, I would have planned one glass of dry champagne and as much mineral water as I care to drink (I absolutely love San Pellegrino with a lime wedge).
Lunch is four-courses and I already know that I cannot eat all of them. My stomach isn’t big enough, nor am I able to eat grains/flour as part of my bariatric life. The first course is a beautiful salad of greens topped with candied walnuts, dried cranberries, fruit, blue cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette. As far as salads go, this will have fairly high sugar/carbohydrate content. So I will plan for this indulgence and skip the Italian pastries at dessert so as not to carb load (the pastries are full of sugar and flour and not part of my diet anyway). I also will skip the second course, which is a plate of pasta (made from flour).
For the main course, I chose Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. It is one of my favorite dishes and this delicacy will be quite the treat. I won’t at all feel deprived passing on the hors d’oeuvres and dessert. I’ll be dining on rich cheeses and cured meats, deliciously roasted vegetables and a gourmet salad, and fresh jumbo lump crab. I’ll top it all off with a cappuccino sweetened with some Stevia (I carry my own nowadays) and that’s quite enough to leave me feeling that I just enjoyed a marvelously decadent meal.
It’s Not All about Eating
It is important to take the focus off of eating and instead turn your attention to the friendships and conversations around you. This is a time to give your attention to someone rather than some food thing. In the past, all I could think about was the food and drink to the point of being oblivious to what was happening around me. That has all changed for me now… the reverence and importance of the holiday and of friends and family is most important. For me it is a time of gaiety. And I promise you that is the richest experience of all.
Living life well-fed,
Published On: December 12, 2012