The “Sometimes” Conundrum

We are deep in the festive feeling that begins with Halloween and takes us right into the New Year. While you can track these few months by the seasonal décor at your local retailer, you also know it by the candy, pies, cookies, and other colorful confections that make their way into your home. These foods, which I always refer to as our “sometimes foods” are intended to be just that, consumed “sometimes.” When seasonal sweets abound every day, it takes a bit of effort to balance it all and not feel like a holiday Scrooge.

Did you have sweets today?

One of the most important questions that a parent can ask their child, or an adult can ask themselves, is whether sweets were already enjoyed that day. When unexpected treats appear at activities, in classes, on a colleague’s desk, in the lunchroom, and more, it’s sometimes hard to remember we even ate them. However, if we don’t, then we’re more likely to consume more sweets than we mean to. As parents, it’s especially important to ask our children if they already had a “sometimes food” when they ask for a cookie at the end of the day.

Eat regular meals and snacks.

Despite nutrition experts’ efforts to dispel the old myth of “starving all day to indulge at night” still exists. It’s so important to have a balanced day to maintain control of your hunger before heading to a holiday party. Go too hungry and you are sure to overeat. Go in control and you’re far more likely to remain that way.

Lentil Salad with Apples

Lentil Salad with Apples

Two Guiding Stars iconTwo Guiding Stars indicate better nutritional value. Making a batch of lentil salad is an easy way to have a quick and satisfying lunch easily on hand throughout the busy holiday weeks.

View recipe »

Keep it cleaner.

When “sometimes” foods are a regular thing, you need to do what you can to make smarter choices when possible. Lean on a lunch loaded with veggies instead of fried foods, calorie-free drinks in place of high-calorie coffee beverages, as well as other “better choices” so that your indulgences are saved for the special moments that come up this time of year.

Some things just can’t be passed on.

The pie your Aunt makes every holiday season, your annual invitation to a decadent dinner, the cookies that friends carefully create and kindly share: these are the foods and moments that characterize the season and just can’t be passed on. Be particular and rate these special, memorable foods above the store-bought cake served at work. Lastly, balance the decadent dinner with a simple lunch, or enjoy a piece of pie today and not tomorrow.

Maintain your calm.

What do you do to reduce stress? Exercise? Meditate? Read? Hopefully, you have healthy stress relievers in your life, which you need during the holiday season. It’s easy to let go of self-care when you need to fit in a full day of work, a quick errand, and dinner for your family before your child’s chorus concert. However, we know that when we are more stressed, we are more likely to overeat and choose less healthy foods. When “sometimes” foods are in reach, they can become an “everyday” way to manage stress and harder to avoid.

Be present.

Really enjoy friends and merry moments. Not only will this allow you to slow down and be more conscious of your foods, it will also highlight the essence of the season. It’s hard to be focused on gratitude when you’re thinking about getting to the gym or feeling guilty about a decadent dinner. When you’re living a balanced life, and choosing to be present, you’ll savor the holidays more and set a beautiful example for family and friends too.