Sensible ways to celebrate the holidays

Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are great times for festivities, parties, reunions, and other forms of social gatherings. On such joyous occasions, families, friends, and love ones gather together to catch up with each other and to enjoy the food and drinks served.

Studies have shown that many people gain at least 1-2 pounds before they celebrate the New Year. After the celebration, another 1-2 pounds, something you will not be proud of.

There is nothing to fear, however, when these holidays roll in. You can still enjoy the fun, food, and drinks without gaining weight or feeling guilty of being indulgent.

Here are tips on how to eat and drink the healthy way during holidays:

Put in mind that your objective in attending the gathering is to meet and enjoy the company of your friends, families, and loved ones. Make food the second option. Move around to socialize with friends instead of moving toward the table. This will help you indulge less in food.

Eat before going to the gathering. Research has shown that hungry persons, when faced with delicious, attractive, and mouth-watering aroma, tend to eat more than what they really need. Hunger also sets up a mental craving for food. Eat fruits, nuts, or whole wheat crackers before attending a celebration.

Use a smaller plate. The brain can be conditioned. It will consider the plate as full regardless of its size. Before filling up your plate with food, walk around the buffet table to see what foods are available, and mentally choices. This will prevent you from loading up on food at the beginning of the table only to find out that more food are available at the end of the table.

Take a little of everything. Choose fruits and vegetables instead of high-calorie foods like entrees and desserts. Avoid adding cream-based dressings on vegetable salads. Instead, opt for vinegar, lemon, or calamansi (Philippine lime).

Avoid sitting near the buffet table so you will not see and smeel the tempting aroma of the food. The best place to be is at the farthest corner of the room.

Nibble food slowly to savor its taste. Engage in a conversation. Take time to listen and talk.

Limit liquid calories. Choose water with lemon or calamansi or 100 percent sugar-free fruit juice instead of alcoholic beverages, powdered or canned fruit juices, sodas, and fruit punch.

Learn to say “No, thanks. I’m full” when invited to eat and drink more. It also helps to keep some food on your plate or water or juice in your glass to avoid being invited for refills.

Don’t indulge because it’s a special occasion. Eating too much is not good for your health. Eat the same amount of food like in ordinary days.

Eating and drinking is synonymous with holiday celebrations. Enjoy the company of family and friends more than enjoying the food and drinks. This is the best way to celebrate the holidays and special occasions without gaining extra pounds.

 

Evelyn Villaflor-Almocera, MD, MPH, is the school physician of the Adventist International Institute of advanced Studies (AIIAS) in SIlang, Cavite.

 

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