Holiday Survival Guide: Part 1 — Food

The Holidays have officially arrived and with that come massive amounts of rich food, packed schedules, cold weather, and stress.

This week, let’s talk about the food.  Oh, the food!  The best food of the entire year shows up during the Holidays.  There are pies for Thanksgiving, latkes at Hanukkah, cookies at Christmas, not to mention the stuffing, creamy gravy, candied sweet potatoes, and ham.  Oh, and macaroni and cheese, which is news to me, but who am I to question creamy, cheesy pasta for a holiday?

How can anyone be expected to stick to a food plan in the face of all this deliciousness?  Well, unless you’re someone with incredible commitment to your food plan, you can’t be expected to follow it perfectly all the time, especially this time of year.  My advice?  Unless you want to be very sad, give yourself some leeway and enjoy your favorite Holiday treats.

What?  Eat all the delicious Holiday food?  How is that healthy?  Well, I’m not talking about unfettered indulgence here.  Don’t avoid your favorite Holiday treats, but don’t eat anything just because it’s a “Holiday treat”.  Take a few minutes and think about what you favorite foods are from this time of year.  Do you absolutely love Aunt Ida’s famous sugar cookies?  Is the stuffing your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner?  Are your mom’s latkes the reason you look forward to Hanukkah every year?  Enjoy those foods and leave the foods you don’t care so much about on the plate.  If the marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole is your favorite part of Christmas dinner, but you could take or leave the mashed potatoes, then enjoy the sweet potato casserole and skip the mashed potatoes.

The key to enjoying the Holidays and the food that comes with them is to do just that — enjoy them.  Be picky.  Enjoy your favorite Holiday dishes, then fill the rest of your plate with vegetables and protein.  This is the time of year where some of the richest dishes are served, but there are also plenty of healthy choices in the form of vegetables, turkey, and other lean meats.

And what happens if you do over-indulge, as many of us do?  Move on.  There’s nothing you can do about it now, so don’t beat yourself up over it and try to do better next time.  Remember, the Holidays only come around once a year, so relax a little and enjoy them.

Catherine Hall

About Catherine Hall

Catherine lives in Bangor, Maine with her family. She gained her appreciation for food and cooking from her grandmother and learned most of her technical knowledge from watching the Food Network. When not in the kitchen, Catherine can be found outdoors attempting to grow vegetables (not always successfully), practicing yoga, and taking Capoeira classes in downtown Bangor. Catherine can also be found walking around town with her Guiding Eyes guide dog, Caleb.