There are certain times you think about surviving holiday foods…

And the struggle with not stuffing yourself silly on things you know you shouldn’t be eating.  But it happens again and again.

A time of holiday foods from family gatherings, rekindled friendships, exchanging of gifts, and a time to stuff yourself silly on things you know you shouldn’t be eating. The holidays always pose a special problem for those of us who want to party, socialize, have a good time, and still avoid poisoning ourselves with all the wonderful and delicious “food” being offered everywhere we turn. Well, party participants, there is hope. We can party down with the best of them and still maintain our immune systems.

It would seem to the untrained eye that there is nothing for us to eat during the upcoming months, when in reality there is more food for us than any other time of the year. You just may have to redefine what you consider a main course, what you consider dessert and what you consider an adult beverage. Let’s start with holiday foods at Thanksgiving dinner. Look at the typical dinner table. It is most likely loaded with the usual turkey, stuffing, gravy, butter or (perish the thought) margarine, and other very tempting treats. But look further, there are also salads, green beans, potatoes, broccoli, squash and lots of other tasty treats. I will assume for the moment that you are very serious about wanting to eat right and take my suggestions accordingly.

  • If you eat a little bad, you might get a little sick; if you eat really bad, you will probably get really sick.
  • Load up your plate with a smorgasbord of veggies; take 2 or 3 servings of each if you must make a pig of yourself.
  • Remember the mashed potatoes most likely have some dairy products in them. So unless you are low in bovine growth hormone and saturated fat, you might want to stick to the baked potatoes.
  • Try salsa on your baked potato for a real adventure. There should be some near the chips that were put out as a snack before dinner.
  • Feel free to dine with the other folks at the table, just choose your foods wisely and the odds are that no one will notice your eclectic choices. ( I have found that dinner tables are not a good place to discuss food philosophy.) By the end of dinner, when everyone else is unbuckling their pants because they are ready to explode and can’t keep their eyes open from the tryptophane in the turkey, you will be feeling more than satisfied and will be awake enough to enjoy the evening.
  • As everyone has wine, champagne or other alcoholic after dinner drinks, you can enjoy a glass of warm apple cider or if you really want to get crazy, mix some seltzer with your apple cider for an effervescent cocktail. Dessert can be some of that fresh fruit from the centerpiece. Why not bring a homemade raw or baked fruit or vegetable pie. You can have a healthy dessert for yourself and other guests. This may not be the best food combining; it depends how wild you want to get.

At buffet parties the same rules apply. Fill your plate with good choices, such as chips and salsa, veggie sticks, guacamole, nuts, salads, fruits, breads, or whatever you know to be good choices; have a great time socializing. I have been doing this for over 30 years and always have fun no matter what is being served. If you are really worried, eat before you go and you will have more time to mingle. If there is absolutely nothing for you to drink, there is always water with a twist of lemon or sparkling water.

If you have to bring a dish, may I suggest making a basil pesto and a sun dried tomato pesto. Bake up some small potatoes, cut them in half and top half with one pesto and the other half with the other. This wonderful red and green dish is a holiday favorite. It is healthy, easy, inexpensive, and has great eye appeal. (The recipe can be found in my book Eating Right…For The Health Of It.)

Poor food choices can weaken your immune system, which can lead to days and days of misery if you get sick. Is it worth all that suffering for a few lousy meals? Remember, eat well, be well. Happy Holidays!

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