Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

I don’t trust a single soul who doesn’t appreciate the beauty of autumn. From the color of the trees, to the crisp autumn air, and of course, that glorious smell of freshly fallen leaves, there is very little not to love about autumn.
I do admit that there is one thing I despise that comes around this time of year: the start of the holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, I adore spending time with family, counting the blessings in my life, breaking out my favorite mittens, baking cookies with my mom and all that goes along with the holidays. The thing I hate about the holidays is that I lack any and all self-control when it comes to food. Call me mashed potato marauder, basted turkey bandit, pumpkin pie pilferer-I do a lot more than just help myself at the glorious holiday buffet spread.
This year, I’ve decided I need to make a change. My relationships with my favorite pants and holiday dresses get a little tense around the holidays, and I want to avoid that altogether this year. Recently I have started to compile a list of tips and tricks to help me enjoy the holidays, but remain on good terms with my scale and inflict minimum damage on the seams of my dresses.
I know I could not possibly be the only person who struggles with self-control when it comes to food during the holiday season. So for those of you who have eyes bigger than your stomach when it comes to smorgasbords at the holidays, keep reading!
1. Drink up
Drink a glass or two of water before the meal is served. Filling up with water will help you to feel fuller as you’re downing your favorite family recipes. Continuing to gulp down some H2O while you’re eating will help too, and it’ll slow your speed between bites.
2. There are always seconds
Try to keep in mind when you’re plating your feast that there will almost always be enough for a second helping. Take a smaller serving the first go-around and, if you are still hungry afterward, then go and grab seconds. This little trick will help you manage portions and to keep you from overeating. Unlike turkey, your stomach is better under-stuffed.
3. Veggies first
Whether your family tradition is to pass the dishes around the table or have a little buffet, ask the host (or better yet, lend a helping hand) to send the healthier dishes around first, or set them up as the first buffet stop. This way, you’re likely to fill your plate up with more of the nutrient dense, delicious goodness as opposed to the starchy and sweet stuff that’ll weigh you down.
4. Savor the flavor
I know, I know. You’re hungry and sometimes the best option seems like shoveling it in your mouth. Uncle Frank went on and on talking about being a high school football star while Grandpa Joe snored in front of the TV and your Grandma wouldn’t stop about how grown up you look. Waiting for the meal seemed like it took a decade and it’s finally on your plate in front of you and you just want it in your stomach. Taking the approach to slow down when you’re eating will allow you to really appreciate the flavors of the food, enjoy the meal’s true deliciousness all while allowing your stomach and your brain to communicate more effectively. It can take up to 15 minutes for your brain to understand that your stomach is full. No one likes that gut-busting, button-popping feeling, so slow it down and enjoy your meal! Savoring the flavor will make your meal a heck of a lot more enjoyable.
So maybe this isn’t an all-inclusive list of best practices when it comes to being healthy during the holidays, but it’s certainly a start. As you’re celebrating and enjoying this gorgeous, splendid time of year, follow these tips to help you keep it a little bit healthier. Don’t let this holiday season haunt you like the Ghosts of Thanksgiving Buffets past, but rather make it a season to remember the time you spent with family and loved ones, not how much weight you gained.
Chelsea Freeburn is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at CF763560@wcupa.edu.

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