When it comes to a healthy holiday break – such as the mashed potatoes or the low-fat pumpkin pie –
people usually respond in one of two ways: “Good idea!” Or “Are you kidding me?”
It is understandable why people produce “lean” versions of their favorite dishes. Thanksgiving is the start of what can seem like a weekly food marathon and rich foods at every turn. If you try to maintain your weight or get in the way of some eating habits, moving is impossible. For whatever happiness a season has, it can also be a great sin to eat and eat.
Holidays are also my eating habits, and like everybody else, I occasionally indulge in family parties and dinners. But I don’t wish to be silenced by once-a-year favorites like mushrooms and sausage stuffing or groom’s sausage or my mother’s thumb cookies. I eat those foods and I don’t worry about them because they are not my daily commodity.
When people deny themselves the foods they love, it never ends. In fact, it often leads to a cycle of deprivation, overeating, restricted foods and then shame. Wash and repeat.
So instead, prioritize your favorites. Decide what you really love, enjoy those guilt-free holiday meals, and if you overeat, just go back to your usual habits at the next meal or snack and don’t judge for yourself. I know personally that I feel much better physically and mentally when I eat out of my usual dinner and holiday parties.
Another way to control while enjoying holiday foods: Balance rich foods with healthy foods you already love. Many people appreciate a lighter meal, such as a crunchy green salad, a tray of vegetables to pre-cook, or a roasted broccoli pan. As much as I love cookies and cookies, I also look forward to my niece’s huge fruit plaque the day after Christmas.
I have no choice in making sour cream potato or Greek yogurt for potato sour cream – so if this is appealing to you, go for it. But avoid foods that make your holiday special because you want to be “good”. Because you just might end up feeling bad. And this is no way to spend the holidays.