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Manage Your Holiday Feasting

December 2007
Manage Your Holiday Feasting

The holiday season is upon us! Office parties, neighborhood parties, children’s school parties, social gatherings, neighbors bringing over delicious baked goods, etc., etc.—it’s just never ending! There are irresistible, mouthwatering calorie laden foods at every event. And unfortunately Asian Indians get a double dose, with the onset of Diwali first. It is, therefore, imperative that we get a grip on holiday eating; otherwise for most of us the New Year might not turn out to be a very “happy” one after all.

How do you keep control? Manage your food! We all manage our jobs, businesses, children, marriage, but when it comes to managing our food there is no control. We eat thoughtlessly, mindlessly, and without any care. To maintain a healthy balance during the holiday season, without adding pounds and inches, keep the following in mind:

Plan, Plan, and Plan: This is when your day planner comes in handy. If you have 3 parties to go to during a particular week, don’t plan on eating at all three. Instead pick only one party that you will eat at (so you don’t feel deprived) and then have a healthy meal before you go to the other two parties. To remind yourself, jot down in your planner that you will need to have a snack before the other two parties. For example, if there is an office party, a children’s school Christmas party, and a neighborhood party, you might decide to eat at the office party and just plan on nibbling at the other two parties. Good choices to nibble on are fresh veggies from the veggie tray or some cheese and crackers.

Don’t go hungry: Never go to a party completely famished. This spells disaster. When hungry, everything on the table looks attractive and reasoning goes out the window. Have a small healthy snack before the party to prevent overeating and overindulging.

Keep alcohol intake to a minimum: Choose your drink wisely. Alcohol is high in calories. Certain mixed drinks can contain up to 400 calories. Alcohol will also impair your judgment about healthy food choices and cause you to eat more. If you must have a drink, choose a glass of wine or a light beer rather than mixed drinks or liquor. Or try a wine spritzer instead. Limit yourself to no more than one or two glasses.

Eat slowly: Take your time nibbling and chewing. Mingle more, talk more, have some water in-between bites. It is tempting to refill an empty plate. Work on yours slowly so you’re not tempted to get seconds. Once done, don’t stand there holding an empty plate, as this can cause a temptation to get more food; instead, ditch your plate.

Choose your food wisely: At Indian parties, opt for the tandoori dishes over the creamy, deep fried ones. Tandoori vegetables, chicken, and roti are all good choices with, of course, a nice side salad. Look for dishes that are sautéed versus deep fried. If you can clearly see the oil in any dish, steer clear! Eating a full serving of appetizers before the main meal is unnecessary, and is a quick way to pack in the calories. Give up one to have the other.

Finally, be realistic: Don’t convince yourself that you’ll begin an exercise program around the New Year, in order to justify your overindulgence during the holiday season. Instead be realistic and control your calories now so that extra pounds do not become an issue later.

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