By Lance Gard DC
The end is near!
The end of the year means the beginning of the holiday season. ‘Holiday Season’ for many is code for; “I’m going to eat, drink and merry, too much, too often”. I’m no different, I think every week from Halloween until New Year’s Day has at least one party, or gathering of some kind on the books. Going into this time of year without a plan is a recipe for disaster casserole. It might taste good, but you won’t be happy with yourself later.
The first part of any solid holiday food plan should involve getting rid of the leftover Halloween candy. Save 3-4 of your favorites and ditch the rest; donate it, or throw it out. Yes, even the couple pieces of chocolate stashed in the back, because they will call your name in a few weeks and you do not need the temptation. While you’re in the freezer grabbing the hidden Hershey’s go ahead and check the fridge too.
Cleaning out the fridge should start with the obviously bad for your food (ie anything expired), and then move to the ‘why did I buy that?’ then finally get rid of the ‘I know I’m not supposed to eat it’ foods. Actually, before you do anything, grab a piece of fruit and eat it. I don’t want you hungry when making decisions about food. This is true for fridge cleaning, grocery shopping and arriving fashionably late to your fourth Christmas party of the week. Only make food choices when you are of sound mind and thinking rationally, not after you’ve been working all day and come home starving. Our brains are wired to consume calories when they are available, which is an excellent advantage when food is scarce, but a horrible hindrance to health when food is plentiful. A solid plan is a must. Now finish cleaning out your refrigerator then we’ll talk more about meal planning.
When you’re in your satisfied state, take a few minutes and plan a few meals you want to have for dinner in the week to come. Nothing fancy, just combine a protein with some vegetables that you like. We utilize a service available to you that helps you plan these out, it even provides the recipes and you can create a shopping list to help take the guesswork out of adding healthy choices and variety. Use code GWCSAVE50 at checkout to get 50% off after your free trial through Thanksgiving 2022!
Planning leftovers can be another great way to stay on top of a healthy diet. Make a little extra dinner and plan to have it for lunch the next day, or dinner again in a couple of nights. But, this only works if you don’t eat extra during your meal, so be careful and stick to a regular portion. We usually have leftovers after a meal anyway and when you are cleaning up the kitchen it’s easy to portion leftovers into grab-and-go size containers to stick in your freshly cleaned fridge.
It’s inevitable to have to face the food festivities that mark the end of a year, but if you have a plan and stick to it you’ll thank yourself later. You might not be able to resist the desert table for yourself, but think of how happy your future self will be that you did. To be happy with your health in the future requires a bit of discipline in the present. Think of it like your 401k, one day you’ll really appreciate the hard work and dedicated savings you’ve made. Hopefully the retired version of you will be satisfied with the body you’ve saved/created for them too.