We all look forward to the culinary treats of the holidays. Candy and chocolate at Halloween, turkey gravy and pie at Thanksgiving. These foods are fun and part of the fabric of our American traditions.
Halloween is October 31st and Thanksgiving is November 26th this year; two special days of the year. However, being a culture that loves a good thing, we tend to make our holidays into holimonths and this is doing a grave disservice to our health.
If you are interested in making some changes to how your family does the holiday season, start by saving your treats for the actual holidays. Make the treats mean something by waiting to enjoy them. Make the treats mean something because they are a rare occurrence in your life.
Resist the temptation to make candy a regular part of your family’s diet year round. Candy isn’t special if it’s common, and our delicate bodies are sweet enough without more sugar.
When talking with your kids about Halloween get them excited about the costumes and the visiting. Frame this day as a celebration of your neighborhood and of getting to know your neighbors.
For your own home, put off purchasing Halloween candy until the last minute and purchase a kind that your family does not care for very much. This way it will be easier to resist the leftovers.
Set a time limit for trick-or-treating or a limit to the number of houses that you all will visit. This will mean less candy in the bags.
Increase the amount of time that you spend at each home. Rather than simply receive the candy and run, approach the door with your kids, and offer a conversation starter. Later you can review the evening by asking the kids, “What did we learn about our neighbor two doors down tonight?”
Spend some time as a family on your own porch visiting with the families that come to trick-or-treat from you all.
Keep count of how many houses your family visited and let your kids choose one piece for each house. Help them decide which ones will be their very favorites.
Let your kids indulge in their bounty and enjoy a couple for yourself! Treats are for holidays! If everyone waits all of October to enjoy candy, it will taste super delicious!
On November 1st, gather up all the leftover candy and with an attitude of gratitude, toss it into the trash! How empowering! Halloween was fun, and there will be more holiday fun to come!
Some groups and families have taken to hosting multiple Thanksgiving dinners in November. Choose ahead of time which dinner is going to be your official holiday meal.
Treat any of your non-holiday Thanksgiving dinners as regular meals in which you would eat your normal portions and arrive prepared with these tips in mind.
If you are contributing to the meal, consider bringing a healthy option to share. If it is surprisingly delicious and looks special, it is sure to be a hit.
At a big buffet with lots of yummy options, grab a smaller plate from the dessert table. Take only a golf ball sized portion of each type of food. Leave white space between each food and once the plate is full, be finished adding to it.
Choose only one carb. If you really love the dinner rolls, pass on the mashed potatoes and mac n’ cheese. Save those indulgences for the official holiday meal.
Save dessert for your official holiday meal, but if you choose to to visit the dessert table, take only enough dessert to total one serving, half a slice of pie and half a snickerdoodle.
Take your time, eat small bites, and indulge through conversation with your dinner mates.
Remind yourself: by passing on the temptation to overeat at this meal, your official holiday dinner will taste even better.
Don’t apologize or feel guilty for making good choices at your non-holiday Thanksgiving dinners. Only you have to face the consequences of overindulgence.
At your official holiday meal, enjoy with abandon all the sweet and savory goodness that Thanksgiving has to offer. Indulge because it is a special day that you have awaited!
The anticipation of the treats of the holidays is half the fun. Don’t dampen the excitement by making treats a common part of your routine. Remember that life is still sweet without sweets! And the pride you will feel for being kind to your body tastes better than anything Aunt Susie might tempt you to overeat. (Don’t tell her I said that!).