I was talking recently with a couple of medical assistants about eating over the holidays.
“Do your families eat pretty fast?” I asked.
“Very,” they said.
“Are there any vegetables served at your parties?”
“No,” one said. The other, “There is a salad, but that’s the only thing that isn’t touched.”
“Because we need space for the good stuff!” she replied, laughing.
I can sympathize. I grew up celebrating at giant bombastic holiday parties. Every face was a relative and the eating was constant. The spreads would be plentiful and rich, lots of meats and carb’s. No one commented on the lack of veggies.
That’s how it is with many families. The cooking and the sharing are big parts of the way we celebrate the holidays and each other.
I want my patients to enjoy themselves, but not to overdo it. Here are some strategies that I’ve discussed with my families. Keep in mind that everyone is a little different. Some may work for you, some not:
1) Make sure there are healthy foods at the table. Prepare these yourself, if need be.
2) Set up expectations with your kids. Talk about which dessert you all are looking forward to, and how much you want to eat. Enjoy both veggies and dessert as a family.
3) Give your kids a choice. They need to practice how to make healthy decisions for themselves.
4) Try the plate method to get some veggies on your plate. www.choosemyplate.gov
5) Drink a lot of water.
6) Chew slowly and savor your food. Wait 20 minutes between each plate of food. www.webmd.com/diet/features/slow-down-you-eat-too-fast
7) Get the kids to play something- kids vs adults soccer game? indoor balloon volleyball? exergaming? http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/exercise-lose-weight-with-exergaming
Paul Espinas was raised in the Bay Area and is currently a pediatrician for kaiser permanente. The views expressed here are strictly his own.