With the holidays right around the corner, we’re getting ready to eat massive quantities of food. Some people prepare differently than others. I personally get ready to eat a big turkey by warming up on some chickens first. But the most important thing this holiday season is balancing between eating healthy and eating like a good ol’ American! Ah yes, Aunt Lina’s mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, broccoli and gravy, cranberry sauce, and glazed ham… and that’s just one dish! Don’t forget to add a candy cane for Christmas. So how do we avoid overeating this time of year?
We could celebrate the holidays strictly with wheat germ. We could also not buy each other presents and just talk. It’s the holidays, live a little! No one is saying to feast in excess but a few tips can help you cut back on meals while still partaking in some good chow.
- Seconds are Good. Thirds are Trouble
Say there’s a nice dish of sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows and brown sugar. Of course you’re going to want seconds. But dropping the shoulder like a running back to knock cousin Artie out of the way for thirds is going to raise a few eyebrows. Sure cousin Artie stole your girlfriend in 10th grade and never admitted to denting your first car. He probably deserves a good stiff arm to his ugly mug. But save it for the park, not the dinner table. In this case, if you decide to go all Expendables on Artie just to get that third helping, Artie is in the right and you’re not. Besides, if you go for thirds, there may not be much leftover to bring to work the following Monday.
- Know Your Salads
Salads are a healthy choice this holiday season. However, not all salads are created equal. Not even in Thomas Jefferson’s house. Just because something is labeled a “salad”, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. While I admit this is more of a summer food, please beware of potato salad. I’m certain at some point this holiday season, Uncle Frankie will forget to bring the asparagus side dish when leaving for his in-laws, thus, forcing his wife to demand he stop to buy something on the way. Most likely this will be potato salad. In my opinion, there shouldn’t be such a thing as potato salad. You can’t make a salad out of the same stuff you make French Fries from. Salad contains leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, croutons, and dressing. If it’s a veggie, it can go in a salad. Seafood, pasta, poultry, red meat, and even fruits have turned salads into a regrettable Thursday at Applebee’s.
- Watch the Football/Basketball Games
Many families will divide holiday meals into courses. You start off with some cheese, crackers, chips, and pepperoni when arriving at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Next, of course, is the appetizer portion. If you’re Italian like me, that’s when the family sneaks in a small plate of macaroni and sauce. That macaroni appetizer dish is a very Columbus-like way to mount a flag and remind everyone “We’re Italian!” Anyway, after appetizers is dinner followed by dessert and more alcohol. To break up the monotony of all this food, sit down and watch the games in between courses. I mean really sit down and watch the game. Get out a scorecard and keep track of stats if you have to. This will give the stomach a break and a chance to digest. Plus, watching the game is a good way not to talk to Cousin Jimmy who forgot you already returned his lawnmower last month.
- Save Some for Monday!
I touched on this earlier, but I wanted to elaborate. A good technique to avoiding eating so much is realizing that this much food can feed a person for a month. Sure it’s impressive to eat more than Uncle Sal (or Aunt Bonnie for that matter), but it’s also impressive to have Thanksgiving for lunch for a whole week! And think of the money saved by brown-bagging it! You can finally take that trip to Dollywood instead of blowing your cash on Chipotle everyday. Although Chipotle is a respectable passion to many of us, it will still be there after returning from Dollywood. Or even skip Dollywood and save that money to pay your rent!
- There is Only So much Room at the Table
The holidays are a time when there will be a fire hazard amount of people in your home. It’s the reason families keep an extra table in the basement. Sure you never use the thing and want to toss it, but you realize you may need it for when your sister, bother in law, and their family band of kids come by for the holidays. So keep in mind how much room there will actually be on that table(s) to put food on. The more people seated, the less room there will be for meals and dishes. And speaking of dishes, small plates can be used. This means less room to pile on the creamed spinach. With an overcrowded dinner table and small-sized china, there will be less to eat. You will avoid over eating and falling asleep mid-chew.
The holidays are great time to make great memories. Nobody forgets that time Cousin Paul got stuck in the neighbor’s tree trying to get the Nerf football out. Heck, the fire chief brings it up every time you see him at the bank! So enjoy them thoroughly. Eat well and eat smart. If you have any more tips on how to avoid over eating, share them below. And just remember, the Lions have to show up on Thanksgiving but Aunt Gertie’s soufflé doesn’t if you “accidentally” lose her invitation.