4 Tips to Not Overeating During the Holidays

What is it about the holidays that make us eat…so much? Certainly food is a celebration in and of itself, keeping us alive and nourished (and oh so tastily to boot), but is there anything worse than feeling like a stuffed turkey for hours (or days!) after eating one?

Perhaps it's just simple mathematics (and let's face it, most of us are no good at math!). The equation looks something like this: Lots of people gathered together for hours or days multiplied by lots of pre-food-food snacking on chips and dips and appetizing appetizers (which are usually enough to categorize as an entire meal) multiplied by a full-on succulent meal that's so good you just have to have seconds and of course that gets doubled with too many delicious desserts, and you end up with a week's worth of food in your belly in just a few hours. Ouch.

But don't bust out the stretch pants just yet…try these tips for keeping yourself satisfied and full without the pains of indigestion or having to up your wardrobe size…

  1. Eat ahead of time. It's kind of like the rule about never grocery shopping when you're hungry. Indeed your eyes are way bigger than your stomach, but you can trick them easily by being full before they set their sights on Grandma's sweet potato pie or cousin Ruth's incredible gingersnap cookies. Eat healthy foods before the big meal like a green salad, steamed veggies and whole grains that will keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer and you'll find you're less interested in over-eating.
  2. Drink lots of water. Our bodies are funny, and we often confuse hunger with thirst. Staying properly hydrated can keep you from feeling hungry. Drinking during meals can actually upset your digestion and cause gas and bloating, but drinking several glasses of water an hour or two before a big meal can drastically reduce the chances of you overdoing it.
  3. Go Slow. The French take hours to eat, and they eat some of the fattiest, richest foods on the planet yet have some of the healthiest citizens. Their trick is no trick, really. They eat slow, which allows for the body to know that it's full. So even though they're eating calorie-rich foods, they're eating moderate amounts of them and allowing the body to digest over time rather than getting several hundred calories all at once. If that means you're the last one at the table, so be it. But you may find that if you're eating slowly others may slow down too.
  4. Start Small. Our tendency can often be to fill every conceivable spot of a plate with food. And on holidays like Thanksgiving, it's easy enough to do with so many yummy dishes. But rather than fully fill your plate, try starting with just a biteful or two of each dish, which may be enough for an entire meal.

Photo by Joe.

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