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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Horihan

Beat the Buffet Bulge

I’m not sure where the Fall went. I feel like it was JUST Halloween and now it is snowing and Thanksgiving is upon us next week. So we are officially kicking off the Holiday Eating Season. This is definitely the time many of us plan on indulging! There are the big family meals, parties with yummy snacks, office luncheons, cookie baking, foods that we don’t eat other times of year, not to mention the DESSERTS! And while all of this can be extremely enjoyable, what’s not so fun is the feeling of over-fullness, gastrointestinal issues, and extra pounds (and associated guilt) that come with the celebrations. Did you know that during the holidays sometimes we eat as much as 4500 calories in one meal without even realizing it! The good news is that you CAN eat your way to January without feeling like a stuffed turkey!

Here are my top tips-

• Peruse the options before putting anything on your plate. This will help you make informed decisions about what you actually WANT to eat, instead of mindlessly taking some of everything.

• Serve yourself vegetables first. AKA fill a larger percentage of your plate with the healthier stuff.

• Keep the portions small. Take a smaller scoop than you think you need to. Those smaller scoops add up. You can always go back for more if you are still hungry or want more of a particular dish later.

• Eat your “round one” then wait 15 min before you decide to go back for more. That way your “belly has time to catch up with your brain.” AKA notice and honor your natural hunger and fullness cues. It’s best to eat to where we are satiated but not stuffed, and we can’t tell where that point is if we don’t slow down.

• And speaking of slowing down- chew slowly and notice and enjoy the flavors of the food. The food will be more satisfying and you may find you need less of it. • Drink lots of H20. This has several benefits- helping to eat less, drink fewer sugary or alcoholic drinks, and aiding in digestion.

• While at a party, don’t hang out near the food table. Put a few things on your plate and go chat in a different area of the room.

• If you are bringing something to a party, bring a fruit or veggie platter.

• If you are doing the hosting/cooking, serve healthier options. There are lots of interesting festive veggie dishes, and lightened up versions of classic holiday dishes. I’m posting some on my Facebook Page this week!

• Don’t fast before the big meal. Eat a couple light/nutritious meals/snacks, throughout the day. The longer you wait to eat, the more hungry you will get and the more likely to over-do it when you finally do eat. When we don’t eat all day, it is very difficult to make good food choices and know when we’ve had enough.

• Don’t be afraid to politely decline foods that you know you don’t enjoy, or second/third helpings when you’ve had enough. We know what’s best for our own bodies, even while appreciating that Mom/Dad/Grandma/Aunt Mildred/Uncle John just spent 3 days cooking.

• Plan some time for physical activity. Even if it’s just a walk or family bike ride. Or get up a little earlier than everyone else and fit in a mini workout. Find some way (even 15 minutes) to be physically active every day.

• And finally- if you’re traveling, check out my Quick Guide for Healthy Eating on the Go!

A little planning can go a long way! Hope this helps you feel your best this holiday season!

A little planning can go a long way! Hope this helps you feel your best this holiday season!

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