How can you resist? Just stop at one! Photo courtesy Baked NYC.
The onslaught of holiday eating has begun. But you can have your cake and eat it too, according to a physician and food lover.
Says Michael Fenster, MD, F.A.C.C.: “What makes the holiday season so difficult for many people is that it is not just a weekend event like a Memorial Day backyard grill, but a non-stop barrage from October through January.
“We are inundated with offerings everywhere: in the media, at the workplace, at home and every point in-between.”
Dr. Fenster is not only a cardiologist, but a certified wine professional and a chef with a culinary degree. He worked professionally in kitchens prior to entering medical school and has maintained his passion for food and wine throughout his medical career.
He doesn’t want you to abstain over the holidays. It’s not a time for deprivation or dieting—just for following a good eating strategy.
To allow for some culinary holiday cheer without falling into the abyss, Dr. Fenster offers these recommendations:
Plan Ahead. On the day of a party, plan to eat very lightly at breakfast, lunch or other meal.
Timing and Proportion: Once you arrive at an event and see what is offered, make your decision and pace yourself. Think as you would a wine tasting: a little sample of this and a little sample of that, spaced out over the course of the event. Waiting at least 15-20 minutes between samplings will allow time for your stomach to signal the brain. Before you know it, you’ll feel satiated with a lot less than if you had come in and sampled everything all at once. (EDITOR’S TIP: Plan to engage in conversation with two or three people before heading back for a bite. And alternate every caloric food with a sampling of crudités, turkey or other healthful choices.)
Eat Fresh: Don’t be tempted by processed foods. These are not only often higher in calories but loaded with salt and preservatives. If you’re going indulge, hold out for that fresh, handmade treat. Make every bite count.
Protect Yourself At Home: Don’t purchase pre-packaged treats to keep around the house, or bake up lots of cookies to offer “visitors.” If it isn’t there, you can’t eat it.
Make smart decisions and you can enjoy the holidays in a guilt free fashion, says Dr. Fenster. “Consider not gaining excessive weight during the holidays as your goal and getting back to the exercise and weight loss after the New Year.”