In the next couple of weeks, along with the festive gatherings with family, friends and co-workers will be ongoing temptations galore. Once again Dr. Jay Benson has some more helpful tips to guide us successfully through the holiday challenges ahead. Welcome back to Disease Proof, Dr. Benson.
- Eat a healthy meal at home before going out to a restaurant or dinner party. You will be less likely to graze on unhealthy foods on a full stomach.
- Many parties and holidays focus a lot on the food and eating. Make efforts to focus more on the other reasons to celebrate and enjoy spending quality time with family and friends.
- If you are going to a gathering with food, offer to bring a healthy dish, and then you will at least be able to eat something healthy if there’s nothing but junk to eat. Also, if you are hosting or planning a gathering, make the focus of the event an activity or activities rather than eating together.
- If you have to go to a restaurant, choose restaurants that are known to have a large salad bar or a variety of salad options. Choose healthy alternatives at restaurants. Don’t be afraid to ask for a special order such as a double order of salad, a double order of steamed vegetables without salt, butter or oil, or a vegetable stir fry sautéed in water. Ethnic food restaurants may be more likely to have a variety of vegetable dishes available. Be careful, however, because these restaurants typically use a lot of oil and salt in these dishes, so be sure to special order.
- Take healthy foods such as raw vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds when traveling. In situations such as airline travel, you will have food with you when you feel “true hunger”. When traveling far, pack bowls, silverware, a can opener, and other items to facilitate eating away from home. Then buy frozen and fresh vegetables, unsalted canned beans, and fruit at a local grocery store to create meals in the hotel room. Make sure to put a cooler in the car to keep your grocery food purchases cool.
- Remember to eat only when hungry and stop eating before you are full. This is applicable all the time, of course, but being away from home in social environments, one may be more likely to forget this important rule.
- In advance, make sure that your family and friends know about the exciting plan that you have for your own health. Most likely they will want to support you in any way that they can. Don’t pass guilt on others when you choose to eat differently than your family or friends. When asked, say that it is a special diet your doctor told you to be on to treat your medical problems and prolong your life. People will feel less threatened by this approach.
- The most important strategy that makes all of your ideas work ---- is plan, plan, plan ahead!
All the best of great health to you and enjoy the holiday celebrations with your family and friends!