Health at the Holidays
Coffey ’02, owner of , is a Certified Personal
Trainer in Northampton, who provides assistance to many
in the Smith community. She will head home to New York
for Thanksgiving, where her mother has put her in charge
of salad. To help curb the tendency to over-indulge at
this time of year, she offers this advice.
With Thanksgiving only days
away, many of us have already begun to worry about packing
on unwanted pounds. Borrowing from some of principles of
the Clean Eating movement, I’ve created
some ideas to help you enjoy holiday meals without worry
and regret. These ideas are practical and designed to help
alleviate feast-related mental turmoil while minimizing or
preventing those unwelcome holiday gifts.
- Set the right tone
early. Thanksgiving needn’t
mark the beginning of a season-long downward spiral. If you
adopt any of the following suggestions from the start of
the season, you’ll find it much easier to maintain
your physical and mental health through the holidays.
- Go easy on the punch.
Alcohol is known for many things, but inspiring sound
decision-making isn’t one of them.
Decline that glass of wine to avoid indulging in foods you’re
likely to regret later.
- Make personal connections. If your holiday table is bowing
in the middle, it may be hard to keep the focus where it
belongs: on the people gathered there. Instead of eating,
try grabbing a drink (non-alcoholic, preferably) and asking
cousin Peter whatever came of his plan to become a contortionist.
- Go green. Eat a plate
of fresh veggies early in the meal to avoid mindlessly
nibbling on high-fat, nutrient-deficient appetizers.
The fiber will fill you up making it easier to eat healthy
portions of the main course. Make this a regular habit
at parties and you’ll have much to
feel grateful for.
- Eat on purpose. Bread baskets and randomly-placed bowls
of candy can covertly add hundreds of unwelcome, empty
calories to your holiday equation. If you do indulge, put
your serving on a plate first. Forgo additional nibbling
in favor of saving room for the main attraction.
- Eat actual food. Take advantage of home cooking by filling
up on whole, real foods. Not only are they more nutritious
than their boxed and bagged rivals, they also tend to be
- Stake the place out.
Before you dig in, take a minute to survey the goods.
If Aunt Zelda brought her prize-winning quiche, you’ll
want to know that before you go to town on three-bean
- Pick sides. No, I’m not telling you to declare allegiance
in a family struggle. Rather, after you’ve surveyed
the possibilities, choose your very favorite two or three
fixins and take reasonable portions of each.
- Savor every bite. If
you’ve adopted even one of these
suggestions you owe it to yourself to enjoy whatever you’ve
chosen to put on your plate. Ditch the guilt and enjoy
- Amass good karma. You’re less likely to reach for seconds
if you take some time away from the table. Once you’re
done with the main course, rise to the occasion and help
with the clean-up. Run plates from dining room to kitchen,
name yourself Compost Queen, or roll up your sleeves and
- Enjoy your just desserts.
Holiday meals are no time to deny yourself what you enjoy
most. When the sweet stuff comes out, take your time
selecting the item you know you’ll
love, then eat it slowly, enjoying the experience.