• Mary Pergola

'Tis the Season...for Temptations!

Although the holidays are very enjoyable and fun, it is often very easy to get thrown off track with our healthy habits. Holiday parties, cookies brought into the office, cocktails with friends...constant temptations everywhere! But there are some simple ways to avoid becoming completely derailed. The key in all of the following tips is MINDFULNESS. Being mindful of our actions, our decisions and our choices will greatly improve our chances of not completely giving in to all temptations we are faced with over the next month.

1 - Don’t skip meals: If you head out to a party on an empty stomach, chances are you will overindulge when you get there and see/smell all the food (especially if you have a couple drinks while you are there). Make sure that you are eating plenty of healthy food the day of a party and eat something before you head out. Eat a small, healthy meal and drink water before you go.

2 - Bring a healthy dish: Tell the host/hostess that you will bring something to contribute to the party. Then decide what YOU want to have available to you at the party as a healthy option. Think veggies and hummus, fruit bowl, or even a hot dish (quinoa with vegetables and chicken for example). If sweets are your downfall, bring a simple, healthy dessert (Brownie Bites are one of my favorites - see recipe below).

3 - Choose drinks wisely: Alcoholic drinks contribute to empty calories and can also cause you to make poor decisions regarding food. If you must indulge, set your limit BEFORE you attend the party and then stick to it. Think about how it will make you feel during the night and also in the morning - the dreaded hangover. If consuming alcohol, alternate each alcoholic drink with water or seltzer.

4 - Choose your splurges: Decide what it is you will splurge on, if anything, at the party. Will it be the appetizers? Desserts? Drinks? Pick one thing so that you don’t feel like you are depriving yourself completely - it is a party after all!

5 - Savor your treats: When you do decide to allow yourself a little splurge, make sure that you take the time to really enjoy it. Eat slowly and really taste it!

6 - Check in with yourself: Eat slowly and check in with yourself while you are eating. Are you satisfied? If so, avoid that stuffed feeling and put the plate down! The same holds true for drinking. Drink slowly and check in with yourself. You may find that you are all set with the drinks.

7 - Say no to food and drink pushers: they are out there! No-one should be making the decision about what you put into your body but YOU! You can decline politely and even use excuses such as “I’m all set”, “I’m full”, or even “It doesn’t agree with me!”

8 - Visit the people, not the food: Remind yourself that you are at the party to enjoy the people. Move away from the buffet or dessert table to prevent mindless eating. Focus on the conversations with others at the party and you may find that you are distracted from the food.

9 - Don’t feel guilty: If you did go overboard, don’t beat yourself up. Start over by eating healthy, hydrating and exercising the next day. No need to dwell - pick yourself up and get right back on track!