How to Survive the Holiday Season Eat-a-Thon
We all want our eggnog and cookies, but we don’t want to go completely off the rails. Naples-based nutritionist Betsy Opyt shares her P.L.A.N. to help you navigate.
Images courtesy of Betsy Opyt
As a registered dietician, entrepreneur (for her Betsy’s Best Gourmet Nut and Seed Butters), mom and former Miss Indiana, Betsy Opyt knows a thing or two about how the holidays are a time to break bread with family and friends—but also how they can complicate any momentum you’ve had with getting your diet in order. “You don’t want to feel like you’re depriving, but you want to be smart when using the calories—just like with your banking,” Opyt says. "Budgeting your calories for the holidays is important; you need to spend calories wisely. In Naples, it’s very, very social. People are eating out all the time. The 5-pound holiday weight gain is a real thing—liquid calories and the small appetizers and cookies are usually what does it.” We asked her to share her thoughts on how you can make it through the season without needing to make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.
Betsy Opyt’s P.L.A.N. for staying on track during the holidays (as told to Gulfshore Life:
If you have to bring something to a party, make it beautiful and nutritious, like this rosette of orange and kiwi segments Opyt put together.
P. Plan for success.
Having a strategy is the utmost key! If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail. Pick out the restaurant ahead of time and scan the menu—decide what you will eat before going. Plan lunch the night before or the snack you will eat right before going out. If heading to a cocktail party, have a plan in place for how you will handle the holiday event. Tell yourself you’ll have only one glass of wine, or if you have wine you will pass on appetizers.
L. Listen to your body.
Are you hungry? Are you full? Are you eating mindlessly or grazing on food just because it is there? We often eat with our eyes and not our stomach. Always ask yourself if you are truly hungry, and only give yourself permission to eat when you are truly hungry.
A. Assess and analyze the environment.
Are you going to be at a buffet, a home, or a restaurant with a menu? Will they only be serving drinks and appetizers or desserts and after-dinner drinks? What healthy foods will be available, and how hungry will you become as the evening goes on? Knowing that alcohol leads to hunger, don't set yourself up for disaster. Figure out your triggers at holiday events to prevent yourself from making the same mistake.
N. Make nutrition count!
If your first thought is a positive one, you will be more than likely to make a healthier choice and feel good about it. Instead of thinking about what you shouldn't have, think of what you can. Focus on nourishing foods that are filled with fiber, balanced with protein, low in sugar, green to keep you lean or non-liquid calories—and leave a smaller amount of room on your plate for those that are not.