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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Holiday Eating Advice

Around this time of year, magazines and television news shows try to be helpful, offering up little tidbits of advice on how not to have to buy larger clothes after the holidays are over. Some of their advice looks like this:
* Make time for regular, healthy meals so that you and the kids don't get too hungry and snack on sweet treats.

* Big holiday party? Have a healthy snack before hand to take the edge off your hunger to stop overeating. Talk with your children ahead of time about what foods to choose, taking small portions, skipping seconds, and sharing desserts.

* Focus on friends at holiday gatherings, rather than food.

* Planning on sugar filled pies such as chess or pecan? Switch to pumpkin or sweet potato—that way you'll get less fat, less sugar, and more vitamins, minerals and flavor.

* Keep healthy snacks—like fresh fruit—handy. Try a snack mix of low-sugar cereals like Cheerios, Total, and Chex. For older children add raisins, pretzels, and sunflower seeds.

* Make healthy snacks fun! Serve them in muffin liners, wrap in plastic wrap and tie with red and green ribbon.

* Making holiday cookies? Cut fat by one-third and sugar by one-third. Use applesauce in place of most of the oil.

* Try oatmeal cookies with cranberries instead of chocolate chip bars, fudge, or other sugar-based treats. The extra fiber fills you up so you're less likely to overdo it on sweets. Make fewer kinds of cookies or candy. People usually want to try each type of sweet on a tray, so just bake one or two favorites.

* Instead of making sugar cookies with your kids, roll out bread dough very thin (you can even use the frozen kind to save time), cut with cookie cutters, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and sugar, let rise, then bake for a taste treat that's low in fat and sugar.
Uh-huh... sure... I think I like this advice instead.
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rumballs.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch.You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat.Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out ofyour mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

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