10 tips to eating in the season of excess

It’s the season to be jolly. It’s the season to anticipate the arrival of a portly man in a red suit bearing gifts. It’s the season of sugar plums dancing in our heads.

It’s also the season of overeating — and regretting it in the morning. 

About 45% of Canadians say they worry about gaining weight over the holidays, according to Angus Reid. Most people only gain a pound or two, but they often don’t lose that weight and those small gains can add up over the years. 

Moderation and celebration don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Here are 10 tips to help you eat healthfully in the season of excess: 

  1. Don’t starve on the day of a party: Deciding to deprive yourself during the day so you can indulge at dinner can backfire since you are more likely to overeat if you are hungry.
  1. Water, water, everywhere: Have a big glass of water before every meal. This will keep you hydrated, help your body digest food and make you feel less hungry.
  1. Have a healthy snack before you head out: A nutritious snack before going out for a meal can prevent you from overeating later. 
  1. Be selective at the buffet: Fill half your plate with veggies and just a taste of other, richer foods.
  1. Size matters: Using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate can help with portion control.
  1. Eat mindfully: Research shows you’ll consume fewer calories if you eat slowly. Pace yourself by taking small bites, taking your time chewing, putting your fork down and sipping water between bites.
  1. Think twice about going for seconds: Wait for 10 minutes after you’ve finished your meal before filling up again. This way you are giving your body time to digest what you’ve eaten and determine if you are actually still hungry. 
  1. Swap standard calorie-laden holiday foods with healthier options: Select white turkey meat over prime rib or ham, brown rice over stuffing and mashed turnips over mashed potatoes.
  1. Keep a lid on alcohol: Booze adds lots of calories to a meal and can weaken your resolve about not overeating. Delay drinking until you begin your meal and set a limit in advance.
  1.  Don’t beat yourself up: If you do overindulge, try to go back to a nutritious eating plan again as soon as possible. Think of eating in moderation as a gift you give to yourself — and your health.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash