It’s the holiday season, and with the joy and persistent cheer comes the endless family parties and work gatherings galore. As Anna Thomas, the author of The Vegetarian Epicure once stated, “We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” What a perfect thought, especially during the holidays where it is easy to reach for the casseroles, stuffings, mashed potatoes, yams, breads, pies, cakes, and puddings. However, it must be noted that highly refined carbohydrate diets have wide reaching effects on a variety of organ systemsincluding the skin. Not only is it possible to enjoy a relaxing holiday season, but it’s also entirely plausible to avoid the dreaded “food coma” or post prandial stress that many experience after large holiday meals. Here are some tips for enjoying the spirit of the holidays without overeating.
1) Do Not Go Hungry to Parties
Many hospitals see an uptick in increased cardiovascular events during the holidays, with one reason being overeating. Prepare for events by eating a meal with 20-30 grams of protein beforehand. A list of sources of protein can be found here. On the go? Feel free to drink a protein shake such as Premiere Protein, or my own recipe attached here. Better yet, get inspired and bring a recipe that you enjoy to the gathering. Here is a link for carbohydrate conscious holiday fares crafted by cooking whiz Kalyn Denny.
2) Keep Alcohol Servings to a Two Drink Maximum
Consider drinking chicken, beef, fish, or vegetable broth in between each drink. Broth is an excellent addition due to its rehydration properties. It also will decrease your chances of binge drinking, a common occurrence at large events. Other drink options include sparkling water, coffee, or unsweetened tea. This holiday season I am currently enjoying hot ginseng tea, as well as green and chamomile tea. I also have enjoyed adding heavy cream or cinnamon to my coffee for additional flavor.
3) Foraging Should be an Outdoor Activity, Never Inside the Kitchen
An analysis from Kent State, University of Florida, Brown University, and Oklahoma State demonstrated how consumption of portions can be limited, simply by using a smaller plate. Bring your friends and family with you, and enjoy your meal somewhere else. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has also pointed out the benefits of taking time to savor your food.
4) Avoid Mystery Dishes or Stuffing Plates
At almost every holiday food gathering, there is always at least one casserole or deep dish that typically includes crackers, bread, or potatoes. While the casseroles may include vegetables, they tend to be chockful of refined starches and sugars like processed corn, oat, wheat, rye, and potato products. Opt for side dishes that are easily identifiable such as grilled vegetables, fresh salads, or even cheese platters with nuts and spices. If you must have Grandma’s holiday stuffing or casserole, eat your protein first and wait ten minutes.
5) Lastly, Sample Desserts Like You Are Taste Testing
The holidays should be a time to enjoy a spirit of community and relaxation. I encourage everyone to enjoy their food, but to also recognize the importance of spending quality time with the ones you care about.
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