Do you wave the white flag of surrender around Thanksgiving and vow your better menu angel will return on January 1? How many times have you promised yourself you would eat healthy over the holidays, no matter what, when the doorbell rings and a friend stands on the threshold with a huge grin and gigantic apple pie? Is it even possible to “be good?” in this season of excess?

My Better Angel

I found an article, 12 Tips for Holiday Eating from Harvard at . I’m including it on this blog because it makes sense without raining on my parade. Here’s the gist of what the author, Peter Skerrett, suggests.

  • Like spending money wisely, spend your calories wisely. Select what you really love the most, rather than everything in sight (which is my first inclination).
  • Enjoy the people, music, etc without eating for 10 minutes or more. It takes a while for the stomach to send the “full” message to the brain.
  • Don’t spend your evening around the food table.
  • Don’t arrive at the party famished. Nibble on something with carbs and protein before you leave your house.
  • Instead of drinking glasses of eggnog and /or wine only, intersperse with plain or juice flavored water. Be careful of alcohol on an empty stomach. (Does a number on you.)
  • Include those fruits and veggies you see on the table, especially your faves. (I’ve brought my own to share and they turned out to be popular.)

I like these suggestions because I can have what I want, but in moderation. If I have the mindset that I “cheated” so all bets are off, I will overeat. But if everything is permissible in moderation, I won’t engage in guilt eating.

About the author:

Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

Pat Skerrett is the editor of STAT’s First Opinion and host of the First Opinion podcast. He is the former editor of the Harvard Health blog and former Executive Editor of Harvard Health Publishing.

On the Other Hand…..

Then there’s the light-hearted opposite approach.

Either way, have a wonderful Christmas and be good to yourself.