Benjamin Franklin and I have something in common. We both feel that if you don't have a clear plan in mind, then the outcome your situation may not go exactly as you intended.
I have said, "If you don't have a plan, you don't have a plan."
And he has said, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail."
Either way you spin it, the message is the same.
This time of year, it feels like we spend more time out-and-about than we do in our homes. Whether it's a work gathering, a Christmas party, or heading to the mall for some holiday shopping, we are lacking in routine and structure.
This time of year is also also greatly celebrated with food. From fruitcakes to prime rib, most social occasions are abundant in savory dishes and trays full of sweets. Glasses and mugs are filled with eggnog, hot chocolate, or the latest and greatest cocktail du jour. It's a grand time for feasting that brings families and friends together to celebrate, love and laugh (or so we hope).
It's no secret that holiday weight gain is a thing.
And it's no secret that so are New Year's Resolutions. Here's the great news - with a little bit of forethought and planning, you can potentially reduce your waistline expansion, keep your immune system boosted, and have a bit more energy to Deck the Halls and Fa-La-La. Here's how:
1) Headed out for holiday shopping? Pack a snack for every three hours that you plan on being away from home. A little cooler bag can help keep things like string cheese, Greek yogurt or string cheese cool. Fruit travels well as do nuts. Veggies with some hummus make a good snack, too. Pack a blender bottle with some shake mix and grab a water for a shake on-the-go. Gas stations have started to carry lots of these items too so if you're in a pinch, you can find most of these things at a convenience store.
2) Headed to a pot luck event? Bring something that you know you'll feel good about eating. One of my favorite things to bring is this roasted Brussels sprouts dish. The combination of flavors will have guests asking you for the recipe - even those that swore off Brussels sprouts as a kid. Now to be frank, it's not a perfectly healthy dish, BUT it is definitely more blood sugar balanced than many other potluck variety foods and that counts for a lot.
3) Gathering at a restaurant? Always go online and check out the menu. If you can make your selection ahead of time, you will be more likely to stick to that choice when it's time to order. Avoid fried items, heavier cream sauces, and pastas. Looks for items that contain a good quality protein and a green vegetable or two. Most restaurants are willing to swap their starch for an extra veggie serving.
4) Celebrating with cocktails? Drinking your calories and spiking your blood sugar can be way too easy if you're not paying attention to your drink order. The bad news is there is no "healthy" cocktail, but if you're able to avoid cream liqueurs, soda mixers, and super sugary frozen or mixed drinks, you're taking a step in the right direction. Always a good idea is to have one water for every drink that you have. We also have a tendency to make some not-so-stellar food choice after a drink or two so mind what you order to eat.
5) Regretting that you didn't plan ahead? Here's my #1 not-so-subtle, tough love-ish reminder - you are not going to die if you don't eat something. You WILL make it until you get to where healthy food is.
Feeling like I'm all bah-humbug around holiday eating? I'm not.
I just know how hard it can be when you have an intention to make healthier choices but then feel like you're stuck and don't know what to do. And the best way to know what to do is to plan ahead. With just a little bit of effort and thought, you can find yourself breezing your way through the tough terrain of holiday platters, plates and punches!