Surviving the holiday parties
This year you will get through the holiday season, without the holiday weight gain and without deprivation! Use America’s healthiest diet, the DASH plan, to keep yourself on track
It can seem challenging to stay on track with healthy eating during the holiday period. No one wants to miss out on all their favorite holiday treats. So we won’t ask you to.
How can we find a way to accommodate both of our very important, but conflicting objectives?
Compromise! You are going to learn how to load up on healthy foods during the day so that you can skim through your holiday party without sinking into holiday gluttony.
The key DASH foods are fresh fruits and veggies, light dairy foods, nuts. These are paired up with lean meats, fish, poultry, and other protein-rich foods, whole grains, and heart healthy fats. And you are not going to use your old trick of starving yourself all day! Instead we will feed you all day.
Yes, you do want a breakfast. Make it protein-rich. A couple of hard-boiled eggs, or a microwave scramble will keep you feeling full longer into the day and fire up your metabolism. Pair it with some berries, and a latte or hot chocolate, and you will start your day with huge energy. This could be especially helpful if you were at a party the night before.
Healthy snacks can keep your hunger under control, and help you avoid the trap of pigging out on office holiday cookies and candy. You do want to stock up your office fridge with light yogurt, fruit, cut up raw veggies, light individually packaged cheeses, and peanut butter. Keep it in your own insulated bag in the fridge, if you have coworkers who are likely to pilfer your healthy foods. Then, at your desk, keep some nuts in storage. Pull together a quick snack by combining something bulky, like the veggies or fresh fruit, with something protein-rich like the yogurt, cheese, nuts, or PB. This surprising trick is so easy, and makes it simple to have healthy, DASH-friendly snacks. The combination of bulky and satisfying protein-foods quenches hunger better than either of them alone.
During the holiday season, focus on veggie-laden salads. If you don’t have access to a store or restaurant with a salad bar, bring your own. The more types of veggies, the healthier. Add grated carrots, red cabbage, cukes, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, peas. Then add in some protein-rich foods like tuna, grilled chicken strips, egg slices, garbanzo beans, and light cheese. Top with an oil and vinegar or vinaigrette dressing. (Although if you are bringing it from home, don’t dress it until you are ready to eat. No one likes soggy salads.) Use fruit or light yogurt for something sweet at the end of the meal.
Using our earlier suggestions, have an afternoon snack and one before you go out to your party. If you are at home before going out, try some fresh veggies dipped in guacamole. That will take the edge off your hunger, and help with slowing alcohol absorption later at your event.
Now that you have quenched your hunger and know that you have eaten all your key DASH foods, you can enjoy the party. Cocktails? Try to avoid the sugary or creamy ones. And alternate with water. One glass of wine, one glass of water. Appetizers? Scope out the selection and go for the ones that you really love. Because you are not starving, you can easily avoid overdoing. Then choose the very best dessert. Savor it and linger while eating it.
By not depriving yourself, and by loading up on lots of filling and satisfying foods earlier in the day, you will have found the holiday party solution with the DASH diet! And, come January, you can get a jump-start on a healthier you, with the new book, The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution.