Bust or Must? Holiday Eating



Lesa Turnquist | Copy Co-Editor

We have three major holidays coming up that involve a lot of food and eating. Halloween is associated with sweets and candy. We “feast” during the Thanksgiving holiday. And Christmas, of course, has a little of both (okay, a lot of both). It’s easy to let go of your healthy eating lifestyle during this time of year; however, I am a big supporter of enjoying the food during the holidays with a few tips about how to manage your holiday diet.

Holiday eating is a MUST. Yes! I encourage you to have a piece of your favorite candy on Halloween — mine’s Reese’s peanut butter cups. You should also have some of Grandma’s homemade pie at Thanksgiving, and let me tell ya, my grandma Myrna makes the BEST apple pie. Also, you would be missing out if you didn’t cozy up with a hot chocolate or eat a Christmas cookie over break. Now, here are some tips so you are able to enjoy these things, along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The first key word is maintain. If your ultimate goal is to lose weight, now is not a good time to expect to make big achievements. I’m not saying you shouldn’t or you can’t have a goal of losing weight during the holiday season, but there are going to be a lot of temptations and road blocks that may keep you from reaching your goal. Watch your expectations, and make your goals realistic. It very well may be possible to lose weight during this time of year, but don’t expect a lot from yourself. Often times if we don’t meet our expectations, we let go of our ultimate goal and stop going for it completely because of a “setback”. The best thing to do is to maintain what you’ve accomplished so far, and pick it back up once the major holiday season is over.

Along that line, if you are at a healthy weight, and your ultimate goal is to maintain, make sure you keep up with your workout plan. If you are taking in extra calories with holiday eating, you certainly won’t maintain if you forget about the fitness part of it.

Getting your weekly fitness will be key to not letting go of your healthy lifestyle no matter your goal. You should strive for around 150-200 minutes a week in which you could break it down to something like 30-40 minutes of exercise for five days of week. This will help you maintain even with some of those extra calories.

When I talk about extra calories, I’m talking about the things that you might not eat on a regular basis such as candy, large meals, or sweets and treats. Even though I encourage you to enjoy holiday eating, there are some tips you should be aware of so these “extra calories” don’t turn into “a lot of extra calories”. Between finding things from other sources and the things I do on my own, I came up with this tip list that should get you through the holidays.

1. Enjoy it. This especially goes for Halloween. I don’t eat my favorite candy often, but Halloween is the perfect time to choose to enjoy a treat! Holidays are the times of year where it’s going to be the most available and most tempting, so it’s a good time to give in. Use all holidays as your chance to have a treat because that will help you monitor how often you eat them. As much as I love Reese’s, I really only eat them at Halloween, Christmas (as I usually receive them as a present from some family member), my birthday (again, presents!), and Easter (when they have those cute egg shaped Reese’s). Then there are those few times during the year that I’ll grab one, but if you think about it, that’s only like five times a year, yet I still get to enjoy them.

2. Do not skip meals. Skipping meals makes your metabolism slow down. Your body won’t break food down as quickly, and it will be stored as fat, the unhealthy weight. Even if you ate a big meal or plan on eating a big meal, it won’t do you any good to completely skip a meal. Go back to eating smaller, more frequent meals after that big meal.

3. Only eat what you love. Thanksgiving and Christmas meals usually consist of a large buffet. It’s tempting to grab some of everything, but if it’s not your favorite, you don’t have to get it. This will help you so you aren’t over-eating on things you don’t even really like.

4. Take small portions of the things you love. I really love cheesy potatoes. I also really love pie. They are both definitely in my top 10 favorite foods. When you go through the buffet line, only take small portions of each of the foods you love. You can almost always go back if you feel you didn’t get enough. Often times, you find that you won’t even feel the need to go back once you’ve finished eating what you got in the first place. I also try to look for smaller pieces. Try to take only one scoop of things. You can also look for the skinniest or smallest pieces, especially at the sweets!

5. Scope out the menu. Before you grab what you’re going to eat, check out what there is to offer. Otherwise, when you go through the line, you might convince yourself there are more things that you “love”. For example, I really love cheesy potatoes…oh, and I love stuffing…and turkey…and green bean casserole…and this…and that…and… pretty soon you have a full plate when in all reality, that turkey didn’t even look that good because your aunt burnt it to a crisp so you shouldn’t have taken it anyway.

Please enjoy the holidays and treat yourself in small ways. Remember some of my eating tips and keep up on (or add to) your weekly fitness plan.

Graphic by Justice Gage