Friday, December 21, 2018

Holiday Eating

The holiday season is upon us. For many, the holidays are a time of travel, parties, big meals, snack foods and drinking - all can create a challenging environment for eating healthy. Also, during the holiday season, so many people fail to prepare for the onslaught of junk food, chocolates, candy, and other snacks and unhealthy meals that will assault them while they are gift shopping. Because you’re going to run into massive temptation during the holiday season, here are some tips: If you’re starving while shopping and you have to get something to eat, choose one of the healthier restaurants instead of the fast food options inside the food court. Believe it or not, loud and chaotic environments actually cause people to eat more. So, choose a low-key, healthy restaurant instead, and you can order a sensible meal instead of indulging in the high-calorie, high-fat, high sugar meals that you’d typically get in a fast food setting. It’s really tough avoiding junk food and other unhealthy snacks during the holiday season no matter where you are, but surprisingly enough, this is especially true at the office. People are always bringing in holiday cakes, cookies, cupcakes, candy, chocolates, and all kinds of other delicious yet calorie laden snacks. The attraction is incredibly difficult for many people, but mostly because they haven’t prepared for the inevitable onslaught of holiday temptations. To combat these temptations, we highly recommend leaving healthy snacks on hand at the office. If you have something else to munch on while everyone else is stuffing their face with holiday treats, you’ll be able to stick to your healthy eating plan and not feel deprived or left out. Don’t deprive yourself completely. You’ll get frustrated, feel unhappy, and ultimately give up and go overboard if you completely deprive yourself of amazing holiday treats. So, indulge a little during the holidays and then immediately go back to your healthy meal plan when you’re through. While attending holiday parties, you should avoid eating high-calorie foods by not putting too many of them on your plate when you do decide to eat. When we have a variety of different foods on our plates, we tend to eat more no matter how hungry we are, so put less food on your plate and you’ll find it easier to avoid. Eat a small, balanced meal or snack before you leave home. If you arrive to the party hungry, you’ll be more likely to overindulge (another great reason to NOT skip breakfast and lunch). Study ALL of the food options, and think about what you are going to have before you put anything on your plate. Decide which foods are worth eating and which can be ignored, and then stick to that decision. Hosting? Make sure the menu includes healthy food choices such as fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Baking, broiling and barbecuing are good methods for cooking meats such as turkey. Avoid frying or adding extra fat during cooking. When you’re cooking, avoid sampling the foods more than necessary. If you’re the host of the dinner, clear the table and put unused food away to help guests avoid grazing. Are you a guest at a family member’s or friends home? Offer to bring along a healthy dish that you know you will enjoy and can substitute for a not so healthy options. After your meal, take a walk with family and friends. Exercise will also get you moving, keep you focused on your goals, and give you a welcome break from being surrounded by treats. If you plan to travel to enjoy the holidays with loved ones, you will likely be spending time away from home in cars or on airplanes. The eating on-the-go that comes along with travel makes it hard to maintain control of food choices. Plus, exhausting travel days pose other challenges to healthy eating by throwing off meal times and limiting good food options. Bring along snacks that are both satisfying and convenient like protein-packed beef jerky, single pouches of tuna and string cheese and high-fiber plant-based foods like fresh fruit, banana chips, nuts, seeds, and roasted chickpea snacks. There are always endless reasons to not make changes. Whether it’s the difficulty of limiting holiday indulgences or not wanting to disappoint your host by saying no to second portions, excuses abound. It might seem like there couldn’t be a worse time than the start of the holiday season to commit to a healthy lifestyle, but in fact there’s no better time than now. Considering that holiday eating often results in excess weight gain that only leads to New Year’s resolutions and dieting, starting now can help reframe old thinking patterns and stop procrastination. During this holiday season make a promise to put yourself at the top of your list. The Dale Association is a unique non profit organization which has been responding to needs of adults in our Niagara community for 67 years. It has been said many times that our services help make lives better and we are proud to be able to do this for people with so many different needs. The Dale Association’s mission is to provide comprehensive services and coordinate connections for adults in Niagara and neighboring counties which enhance their health and wellness and empower them to build bridges into their communities. This important mission is the focal point of each program – including our Senior Services, Mental Health Services, Enrichment Activities, and Caregiver Support Services. Our Senior Services offer activities that enhance health, encourages community involvement, utilizes years of experience and allows for the development of friendships, as well as a sole local resource for the visually and hearing impaired. Memory Minders a social program for individuals with mild memory loss is also among The Dale Association’s community support services helping to improve the quality of life for adults. Our Mental Health Services have the clearly stated goal of assisting people to remain emotionally stable and living independently in the community. The Enrichment Activities are geared to developing and enhancing skills with the objective of adding to the quality of life. The goal of Caregiver Support Services is to help informal caregivers’ ability to manage and coordinate care. For more information about The Dale Association or its programs, please visit or our blog at http://www.ExceptionalYouAtTheDale.blogspot.

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