How to Indulge Moderately During the Holidays

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Does your holiday plate resemble a goodwill store more than a Parisian boutique? Is there an excess of junk smothering a few treasures? How do you make your holiday season and diet exude the calm, comfort and care of a well-curated boutique instead of the excess and the finding a needle-in-a haystack chaos of even the best thrift and goodwill stores?

Many have heard of the 90/10 rule: balancing a diet that is 90% healthy with 10% indulgences. During the holidays, I say be a wild child and go for 80% healthy foods/20% pleasurable holiday favorites.

This seemingly simple fraction can feel like advanced Calculus when faced with the massive and varied amounts of food at a holiday party. The key to implementing the 80/20 rule is balanced blood sugar and “shopping” carefully for the food that fits your style. This can ensure that you end a party, and the holiday season, healthy and appreciative of the great food and parties versus in the midst of a binge cycle.

Here are the 5-steps to maintain 80/20 for chic holiday eating and your waistline:

1. Eat protein first: Eat the shrimp cocktail before the spinach-filled phyllo dough. Or eat the cheese with the cracker. And always eat before drinking (except water).

2. Eat slowly: eat less, make it take more time. This makes portion control intuitive.

3. Curate sugars, desserts and alcohol carefully. Choose the desserts that only come out during the holidays or have sentimental meaning like Aunt Peg’s traditional peanut butter blossoms or peppermint bark. Chocolate chip cookies are a dime a dozen — all year.

4. Limit alcohol and balance liberally with water.  Wine, two glasses of water, repeat. Or when drinking mixed drinks, aim for hard alcohol with tonic water. Alcoholic mixes are packed with chemicals and sugar. They can send you on a tailspin of exhaustion and bloating. Simplicity is elegance — in 2010 Cosmos look as tacky as Carrie Bradshaw’s turn of the century “costumes.”

5. Choose the highest quality:  With quality comes more satisfaction with less hunger. Go for the locally-made chocolate with 3 ingredients over the chocolate-chemical mixture of Hershey kisses. Drink dark chocolate hot cocoa, not Nestle’s chemical-laden mix. This keeps blood sugar and satisfaction stable.  You’ll feel luxurious in body, mind and soul.

And for the 20% of the time you do indulge, sip on these mini-detox martini’s after the party and the next day.

These tips will transform your holiday eating experience. You’ll be ready for boutique shopping in January versus June.

Image from thisweekfordinner.com