We have at least 5 holiday parties to attend in the month of December, not including any impromptu celebrations, potlucks and the back-to-back parties that follow between Christmas and New Years. May these tips help you jangle your way through the holiday season without any excess jingle come January.
- Variety and display impacts how much you eat. Here’s a couple of excerpts from Brian Wansink’s research discussed in his book “Mindless Eating”:
- Jelly Bean Study: Half of all movie goers were offered 6 different flavored jelly beans, divided into 6 separate containers the other half were offered the same 6 colors but mixed together in a large bowl. Those who ate from the disorganized assortment ate twice as much.
- M&M Study: A person offered 10 colors of M&Ms will eat 43 more M&Ms on average than their friend who is only offered 7 colors. (Don’t they know they all taste the same?).
- We eat more calories in a group because we are less conscious of what we are putting in our mouth. Compound that with a little holiday cheer (insert wine glass) and your sense of discretion becomes quite dull. Research shows a 20% increase in calories when alcohol is added to the mix.
- People who regularly exercise work out the least in the month of December. Yet we know exercise helps us burn off the extra calories and is a great holiday stress reliever.
- Have a healthy, light snack before heading out to the party to take the edge of your hunger. Saving your calories for the party usually backfires as you arrive ravenously hungry. Try a piece of fruit, low-fat yogurt, string cheese or cup of popcorn.
- Survey the entire landscape before you pick from the sweet and appetizer table. Limit your selections to the top few. Note to self: only serve 2 colors of M&M’s – red and green served in separate bowls.
- Eat slowly and really enjoy the special foods that (thankfully) aren’t tempting you on a nightly basis.
- Sip a glass of water between cocktails to stay hydrated and reduce the impact that alcohol has on your appetite, calorie intake and will power.
- Move away from the food table and enjoy the music and time with friends. Lingering at the table can be a visual trigger that convinces you to eat even though you are no longer hungry.
- Press the reset button the next day. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise and lighten up your meals.
Enjoy the party. Need an appetizer? Check out one of my favorites.