In my religion classes this past semester, my professor started off the first lecture with a reference to Harvy Cox, a theologian, who says that we, as humans, have forgotten how to celebrate. This month, we’re coming together to “celebrate” Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, but what are we really doing? Our generation is so caught up in getting and receiving gifts that we have lost touch with the reasons of why we celebrate. Therefore, this holiday season let’s appreciate the people we have in our lives and really treasure the time spent with each and every one of them.
December and the New Year are full of social gatherings and celebrations of special events. It’s these events in our lives that make us happy and give us something to look forward to. During your celebrations this year, remember to cherish those little moments while being healthy. After the holiday season ends, you’ll still feel good about the time you had and about how you feel now. Just follow this simple guideline to keep you, your family, and friends healthy and well.
**Tips and Tricks**
1. Make Home-cooked Meals. Eating out can be the culprit of your weight gain during the holiday season. Restaurants use buttery salty goodness to make things taste better and they often don’t have calories listed on the menu. Do you ever order the salad thinking its the healthiest choice on the menu? This plan can really backfire if the “healthy” salad is drenched in creamy blue cheese dressing. Instead, try making a home cooked meal with friends and family and know exactly what is in the dish. This way, you can control the amount of fat and salt that goes into your food. Try modifying recipes that you find in cookbooks or online to fit your style of cooking. Making a home-cooked meal also allows you to spend time with your loved ones in the kitchen and dining room – the more bonding time the better!
2. Drink Water Instead of Alcohol. During the holiday season, alcohol consumption sky rockets. Though getting that buzz may be part of the fun, limit your drink to a couple a night max. Try having one drink followed by a glass of water. This way you’ll keep yourself hydrated and also save calories. Trust me, your body will thank you the next morning. This way you’ll also remember all of those holiday memories that you’ll want to keep forever. If you went overboard one night, just remember to drink tons of water before bed. If you do get a hangover, look for cures here, or consult our 5 best hangover foods.
3. Eat Slowly. Sitting down and eating a family meal is really important during the holiday season. Instead of just scarfing down the food by yourself, take a step back and put down your utensil after every bite. This not only gives you a chance to chat up your aunt, uncle, and second cousins, but also time for your hunger signals to catch up. Many times you may not realize how much you actually ate until it’s too late.
4. Make Plans to Exercise and Be Flexible. For me, exercise is part of my routine. I try to schedule it in during my day so I don’t forget about it or put it off. I find it best to work out in the morning because it energizes me throughout the day and I know that I’ve gotten it over with. During the holiday season, it’s essential to be flexible. If you don’t get exercise in the morning, it’s not the end of the world. Be ok with exercising at a different time of day and try to fit it in whenever you can. Try making plans to exercise with your family. How about a walk with your friends before your big dinner? Or a game of catch? By incorporating exercise into your family gathering, the holiday season becomes even more personal and fun.
5. Make Compromises and Be Realistic. No touching desserts at all? No wine, period? These hard fast rules are not realistic because you’ll probably end up breaking them and gorging. Instead of going all or nothing, try limiting your dessert to a couple of bites a night, or one alcoholic beverage per event. By making realistic goals, you’ll be able to feel good about actually keeping them. If you break them however, it’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up and move on instead. Because you had that piece of chocolate cake last night, how about skipping the Merlot tonight?
These guidelines will help you stay healthy, but what’s more important is to enjoy your time with your loved ones. Don’t get too caught up in healthy eating and exercising, and just go with the flow. If you ate a couple of bites too many tonight, cut back tomorrow. Just remember to have fun and laugh a lot! For more tips go here or here.
Megumi Sasada is the BGSK Ambassador and Small Kitchen College newsletter and article writer. She’s a graduated senior at Colby College in Maine and an avid food-blogging (Every Last Morsel), Food Network-watching, nutrition-conscious acapella singer.