Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tis the Season for Splurging

Cookie Swap Party! Look Out These Sweet Tooths Are Serious!

This just in: University of Pittsburgh researchers observe that we eat more on weekends and during the holidays! What a surprise?! After studying two year’s worth of consumers’ eating behavior, professor of marketing J. Jeffrey Inman and colleagues found that both the quality (“This homemade fudge is fantastic!”) and quantity (“I’ll have some more homemade fudge, please!) of foods consumed during weekend and holiday meals is considerably different from regular weekdays. Inman suggests that Americans need special dietary advice for special occasion eating to help in the battle against obesity.
So today’s post serves up some smart tips on eating healthy and having a fabulous time during the holidays.

Trim the Trimmings
Go all out and deck the halls with boughs of holly, glitter, and lights, but when it comes to holiday food, accessorize with care. To shave calories, go easy when adding nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream -- additions that don't add much to the meal, but can add plenty to your waistline. Trim calories wherever you can so you can use them on the splurge foods you don’t want to miss. For instance, I ate a small salad for lunch because I knew I was going to Miller Union restaurant for dinner. Instead of steamed vegetables I savored each bite of Chef Steven Satterfield’s root vegetable gratin -deliciously rich with butter, cheese and crispy breads crumbs. And instead of saying “no” to dessert and in the spirit of holiday giving, I split the rustic apple tart and caramel-honey ice cream with a friend.

Smart Splurging-What the Diet Divas Do!

Even dietitians give the green light to enjoying holiday favorites and offer their own philosophies on navigating holiday dinner parties, traditional treats and big buffets. And guess what? There’s not one suggestion to eat celery instead of your favorite splurge. -“Start small and savor it all. The first few bites of a meal are the most enjoyable. So, start with a small portion and take time to enjoy it.” Marisa Moore, MBA, RD, President of the Georgia Dietetic Association

-“The idea of splurging in this society also smacks of guilt. When we understand that occasionally eating richer foods is part of normal eating, whether eating the foods is part of a celebration or just because we like the taste of something and want some of it, we can go with the flow, letting our bodies guide us in eating in a way that makes us feel great.” Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, Director and Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run, Ludlow, Vermont

-“I say splurge on a little something absolutely divine that can not be consumed in a reduced calorie version, such as the authentic Turkish Baklava that was sent to my office as a holiday gift last week. It was not in my day's "plan" and it was absolutely (eyes roll in the back of my head) incredible. I just made concessions the rest of the week to eating and exercise so that I could really enjoy it and that is the key part or else it's not worth it.” Carrie Zisman, MS, RD ,
-“Splurge on things you really, really, really love. Too often we eat things that are mediocre or even bad. How many times have you been halfway through a Christmas cookie and thought, ‘This just isn’t that good.’ Holiday buffets are frequently covered with high-calorie muck. Slice-and-bake sugar cookies with reindeer on them? Processed cheese log? Eeewww, why bother? Homemade toffee? French champagne? Now you are talking. Ask yourself, “is this worth the calories?” If so, dig in and savor it. If not, make use of that little cocktail napkin, or the friendly dog, and get rid of the offending food.” Sanna Delmonico, MS, RD, family nutrition expert,
-“A splurge does imply extravagance or decadence so acknowledge it, sit and savorAll the swaps where you leave out ingredients or downsize might actually be worse for us. Or we fill up on all the lower calorie items and end up eating what we really crave later and are too full to enjoy! Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, Director of Sports NutritionUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical Center

- “I agree that splurging is OK. If we only eat healthy foods all the time and feel guilty when we indulge then we are not living. Life should be enjoyed. Food is a large part of our lives. It is important to indulge occasionally in order to stay on track. If you don't indulge then you are holding yourself to a standard that will probably make you fail. We should set ourselves up to succeed.” Sarah Ludmer RD, Senior Nutritionist, Del Monte Foods

-“Eating healthfully is a lifestyle, which includes permission to step outside of the ‘healthy food box.’ Coming prepared to holiday events is your key to success. Never show up starving; eat a small healthful snack prior to dining out. Peruse the offerings and after waiting a minute or two if you still really want it, then it is more than an impulsive selection. A few bites of favorite foods should be enough to satisfy you. Feeling that you are controlling your choices will help you feel good during and after the meal.” Annette Schottenfeld, MBA, RD, Nett Nutrition, Inc.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That cookie swap sure looked like a lot of fun. Here's another way to avoid over indulging: Instead of a cookie swap, host a Drop In & Decorate Party.
The hostess provides the cookies and the icing, and friends drop in to decorate. The cookies are then donated to a local food assistance program. Check it out: