Monday, December 19, 2011

Eating Heartily but Consciously During Christmas Season

During the Christmas season, summer and its body-conscious state of mind are distant memories. Hearty indulgence in the many foods shared at Christmas therefore doesn't produce the same feelings of guilt. Nevertheless, its not a pleasant thought to start the New Year carrying any extra pounds. So why then eat yourself into a resolution to 'take off a few extra pounds' if you can smartly avoid it?

Whether it's sharing cookies and candies at work, or having an evening out at a party or dinner, you can have Christmas food and enjoy it. While you seem to be eating heartily with a smile, the key is to have a secret strategy of moderation. It involves sticking to a plan that can be called 'Eating on a 
Budget.'

'Eating on a Budget' is not about the cost of what is eaten, but about the quantity of what is eaten. It is important that a 'budget' or eating in moderation plan is developed because it is almost impossible to avoid exposure to a lot of cookies, candies and other sweets at Christmas. At work, you may risk appearing like the Grinch who stole Christmas if your response will always be something like, 'Uh..no..bah humbug' all the time that some Christmas goodies are offered. It will seem as if you aren't in the spirit of the holidays especially since at that time of year everyone is usually in a festive and more relaxed mood, and the pace at work is usually slower. 

A practical way to partake in Christmas goodies, for example, is to substitute some holiday cookies for say the bagel that you usually have with breakfast or for a mid-morning snack. And instead of just taking one cookie, from the platter, which is noticeable and likely will encourage a colleague to tell you to have more, take three instead. That's where the plan can come into play. You can then enjoy the cookies over two or more hours, because nobody will be watching how you really eat. You can always have a few candies, one cookie or a cookie and a half by your desk and that way it will seem as if you are 
heartily enjoying the holiday treats.  

Another strategy is to bring - bake or buy - low calorie Christmas cookies and candies to work to counteract others that are being offered. Since eating healthy is highly encouraged, health-conscious cookies will not be looked down upon so long as they taste great. A box of sugar-free Christmas chocolate candies for example will look just as delightful as regular chocolate candies. It's interesting to note that in a poll sponsored by the National Confectioners Association in 2004, chocolate was the favorite food gift that Americans said they preferred to receive for the holidays. The lowly and much maligned fruit cake was last on the list. The second favorite holiday food gift was a fruit basket and a plate of cookies was third on the list, according to the Association. 

 For an occasion such as a Christmas party or a dinner, including Christmas Dinner, where larger quantities and selection of food is available, the 'Eating on a Budget' plan means that serving portions and the choice of food selected should be carefully watched. 

 At a party where more desserts and sweets are likely to be available, a few of the selections can be sampled. If the urge to try everything can't be resisted, then do so, but then second helpings have to be severely limited. The same is somewhat true for Christmas Dinners. One big difference is that the food served during Christmas Dinner will be heavier, so by selecting portions wisely, one can always say truthfully that the stomach is full. 

 And indeed, after a sumptuous Holiday Dinner, your body is likely to be full from food and your soul full of joy from sharing another memorable holiday tradition with family, friends and loved ones.