It is the time of year again when logging onto any social media site presents at least three articles, all with the same goal in mind. Headlines saying, “Don’t Overdo It: Tips for Portion Sizing During the Holidays” or “Five Ways to Have a Healthier Thanksgiving Meal” overwhelm our feeds. However, the holidays that come during the last few months of the year, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and etcetera, are possibly the most important holidays of all – when it comes to food, of course. While eating healthy and controlling portion size is very important to do in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, these holidays are the few days that you should be able to go ham (pun intended).
Traditionally, holiday meals entail exceptionally delicious dishes. Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie, Christmas ham and cookies, Hanukkah potato pancakes and matzo ball soup – the list goes on. And while variations of these foods may appear in other day-to-day meals, they are all there, together, during the holidays. It already takes heaps of self-control to just take one scoop of sweet potatoes instead of digging into the whole tray. Why should we limit ourselves on the days that are centered around food, family, and more food?
It is true that the main ingredients in these dishes are ones that should be eaten in moderation. But, if you are regularly careful every other day about limiting consumption of unhealthy fat, excess sugar and loads of salt, those few special days during November and December should be an exception. It is important to realize that the holidays are just a few days of the year, and a healthy lifestyle should not necessarily mean rigidity. In fact, a lifestyle such as this will only prosper with the understanding that sometimes, it is necessary to give into cravings. When you keep up a generally active, healthy life, a few days of indulging on unhealthy food will not tip the scale too much.
As well as feeding a happier stomach, allowing yourself to eat well on Thanksgiving or Christmas will create a happier mindset. You will not have to deal with the comparison of staring at all your relatives’ plates, wishing you could eat the same. Because comparison is something that can take away joy from an event, not fixating on the food you could be eating will lead to greater enjoyment of the holidays. When you are happier, it will radiate to those around you. More happy thoughts will lead to extra laughter, less political conversations and a greater sense of togetherness.
Now that you are probably drooling over the image of creamy mashed potatoes, savory stuffing and tart cranberry sauce, go forth to your holiday meals and conquer. Let yourself enjoy every last bite of the macaroni, savor the cornbread and splurge on an extra scoop of potatoes. Indulge in the pleasure of a full stomach and a warm heart, because that is what the holidays are all about.
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