Eat Well, Celebrate Well

The month of December is possibly the worst month of the year for eating right. For those of us trying to stick to a nutrition plan, it's terribly tempting to just give up for a couple of weeks, but your body will thank you in January if you put in the effort now.

But how do you avoid packing in the food and packing on the pounds? It seems like there are treats and sweets everywhere during the Christmas season! These are the ways I have found that work for me. See what might work for you.

1. Portion control. This is the most important rule all year-round. It's OK to have some casserole, just not half the pan. Desserts are a great treat, but don't fill a dinner plate with them. Balance your plate with small portions of the things you love, as well as the healthy foods, and your body will thank you.

2. Steer clear of the tempting trays. If you know everyone at the office has treats in the break room, don't go in there unless it's really necessary. If there's an office or church party, go toward the end when much of the food will be gone. Take the long way around people's desks or rooms that have Christmas candy or cookies on the corner, begging you to help yourself.

3. Drink more water. We should be doing this already, but water fills you up and helps you eat less. Aim for eight 8 oz glasses each day.

4. Don't graze. It's so easy to stand over a tray of cookies while you're talking and end up eating half a dozen. You go to get another glass of water and you pick up some cheese ball and crackers on the way back. You get something from the vegetable tray, but end up with some cheesecake, too. Try to limit yourself to what you put on your plate and never wander around table just to see what might still be there.

5. Send leftovers home with other people. You can be a blessing to your guests by sending them home with tomorrow's lunch, and you don't have to worry about eating it all tonight. It's sad, but willpower is easier when the temptation isn't in the house. Bless yourself and your loved ones by sending bags home with everyone.

6. Stick to "one-ingredient" foods. Cheese spread, condensed soups and chocolate cake are not one-ingredient foods. Fruit salad, turkey sandwiches and green beans are. Look for those dishes that are made from the least-processed foods you can find. The fresher and simpler the ingredients are, the better they are for you and the faster they'll fill you up.

7. Make sure there are healthy alternatives. Instead of crackers and cheese balls, serve whole wheat chips and salsa. Have plenty of fresh veggies and fruits with some amazing dips. Find the leanest cuts of meat you can and fix them with the healthiest techniques possible. If you're looking out for your own nutrition, somebody else probably will be, too.

8. Never go to a party hungry. You'll make poor choices, load your plate and regret it all later. Have a small, filling snack before you go and you'll make better eating decisions.

9. Don't stress over every little thing you put on your plate. The Christmas season is about family, memories and celebrating the birth of our Saviour. If we are more concerned about a piece of cake or salad we consume, we're missing the point of the event. Give yourself a break, enjoy the fellowship and thank God for the blessings of a multitude of food.

10. Treat yourself. If you don't normally eat sweets, have a small piece. If you steer clear of soda pop, have a small glass. If you generally avoid sour cream, have a dollop. This is a great opportunity to practice portion control and treat yourself for treating your body so well the rest of the year. Just keep the word "moderation" in mind.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17


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