Well, it’s here, the season of joy, giving, and hope. (hope you don’t pack on too many pounds eating those homemade buckeye’s.) Cookie bake-offs will have us donning cute aprons with pictures of svelte chefs on them. (all the while, we will be Lularolling waistbands down to allow for more stretch underneath.) You will spend hours shopping for just the right gift while enjoying a bite out with your friends. (who are we kidding, it’s going to be half of a pizza and a pint of beer.) Santa will be ho-ho-hoing (hold the veggies please, extra mayo on my foot-long sub) in the malls calling out to your little ones to spill the beans on their desired toys (skip the beans, let’s have some almond bark.) Finally, the festivities will culminate with an abundance of presents neatly wrapped with ribbons and bows. (Did someone say, “ribs and bowtie pasta?”) The New Year will bring an added sense of wonder (along with 10 pounds) and hope for what may come in 2018.
Okay, your healthy eating need not get that far out of whack this holiday season. There are sensible strategies to maintaining some semblance of a balanced diet. You can always bring your own portioned, pre-planned snacks with you to parties where you know good, not necessarily healthy, food will be calling your name. But do you really want to be that person? It’s annoying to work your fingers to the bone on a fancy meal only to have a guest play the “diet” card. And the holidays are the time of year when all the cooks and bakers you know bring their A-game to the kitchen, preparing their “best ofs.” If you’re lucky, you’ve made it on their gift giving list and if not, there is no way you’re going to pass up their peanut brittle on the buffet.
Maybe if jolly old St. Nick wasn’t quite so round and so darn happy with himself, we would have a better role model to emulate during this feasting season. He has evolved from delivering games and clothes to packing ten-pound limited edition Reese’s bars in his gift sack these days. From the minute we see his belly jiggling along to the Christmas carols, we too feel the need to get comfy with our favorite candy cane, swirling a nice hot cup of cocoa. Forget that it’s 90 degrees outside. It’s winter, dammit, so we’re going to drink hot chocolate and let’s add some of Great-Grandma’s sugar cookies too. For Pete’s sake, we’re not getting any younger here, let’s partake in allllll of the sweets.
So, what are your strategies going to be to minimize the effects of over-zealous eating this holiday season? Or, do you even care? I am a mix of both; I plan on eating to my heart’s content, enjoying all the usual suspects, including homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning and capacious amounts of wine and cheese on New Year’s. To counterbalance I also plan on keeping my exercise level up as usual, not burdening myself with guilt for missing a run to have fun with family and friends but also not abandoning the joy I get out of simply moving. In a vicious, yet delicious cycle, I will probably pack on a few pounds eating Santa-sized meals, when I should be thinking more along the lines of an Elf on the Shelf’s plate. But, until Santa starts counting points, or asks for some nifty containers in his stocking to portion his food, he and I are going to eat and drink until we’re merry. The good news is that all the partying and overeating this month is going to provide us with a perfect, and very traditional New Year’s Resolution: Losing Weight.
Photos courtesy of Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Santa’s Facebook pages.