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Who’s been a victim of these ridiculous statements that we say to ourselves and others  when it comes time to start celebrating those end of the year festivities.  “It’s just one day to indulge.”  “Well, I’ve ruined my diet already with dinner, so I might as well have a taste of every single one of those desserts.”  “My new year’s resolution is to get fit, so I might as well enjoy myself now.”  I sure have.  Well, how about trying to incorporate one or all of these little sayings this Holiday season to minimize the damage you might inflict upon yourself with food (note: it’s not just the calories, it’s also the junk that you might consume that puts your body in a state of disease/illness growing verses disease/illness fighting).

Don’t be a Garbage Disposal- As much as I am not a fan of waste, I am less a fan of “disposing” of food in your precious body.  If you overcook or are over-served, please remember that it’s better in the trash than on your thighs or clogging up your arteries. And dare I say that you should refuse to take leftovers home or store them (except the few that might actually be good for you).  If those butter laden taters are going to call your name at midnight, don’t take them home! You had some to celebrate Thanksgiving, not to celebrate for an entire week in November.

Participate in the Prep- Have you ever heard the term “Don’t trust a skinny chef.”  I beg to differ.  I tend to eat less when I have cooked the food and I’ve found that many folks also experience the same.  The smells and sights of food are a large part of the eating experience.  When you are in the kitchen working with food, some of those senses are satisfied. Contribute a healthy dish or two to the festivities or assist in the kitchen and you just may consume less calories overall.

Get the Good First- Find the healthiest item available and fill up on that first: salad, fresh veggies and hummus, a vegetable dish that isn’t loaded with cheese or cream.  There’s got to be something that’s lighter, more nutritious, and/or less harmful available that you enjoy.  Make that item your main dish and use the other heavier, meat/dairy/sugar laden foods small side items (or condiments).  Offer to bring something if you suspect something like this might not be available.

Eat as Minimally Processed as Possible- Casseroles (unless you have diligently prepared them in a healthy manner or you know that the chef has) can be your worst nightmare.  These are usually loaded with cheese, cream, sodium, and lots of other fun hidden ingredients. The rule of thumb is that there’s more likely to be something harmful hidden when more ingredients are used.  

Don’t assume- We tend to assume certain things about the foods we eat.  All desserts are bad for us, all veggie dishes are good, for example.  Spend a moment to survey the food and make an educated decision.  You might be better off to enjoy some homemade apple pie over a second helping of that cheesy broccoli casserole, for example.

Cheers!