December 10

Holiday Eating and Your Dining Experience—Part One

The treats and special foods at this time of year make things tough for many folks.   We want to enjoy the bounty—but we don’t look forward to the bloating or heartburn or ‘too-full’ feeling that goes with our indulgence.

This week and next we will share some encouraging ways to improve your Dining Experience throughout the season of good cheer!

#1: Think Small!  The holidays are a season of celebration, which too often leads to overconsumption.  Instead, consider the abundance of good things an opportunity to be thankful when you sample, not just a time to ‘stuff.’   Savor sweet delights in small amounts and you won’t need to compensate with denial come January 1st!

#2:  80/20 Rule.  What you eat regularly has the biggest effect on how you feel.  Using a 7-day-week as your measuring stick, stick to normal, healthier food most of the time, and enjoy seasonal specialties 20% or less out of the week.

#3:  Don’t Drink Your Calories!   Enjoy plenty of water during this dry time of year—along with the occasional festive beverage.  And if you have a choice, choose to chew the apple or the orange, instead of ‘just the juice’.  Drinking fruit juice can quickly add extra calories, and spike blood sugar—without adding any of the fiber or other benefits of eating the fruit itself.  In addition to helping you feel full, the fiber makes the good bacteria in your gut happy, too!

#4: I’ve Got a Feeling…  If you already know that some foods don’t agree with you, it’s best to avoid them during celebrations, instead of saying, “Oh, just a little won’t hurt.”  One of the biggest culprits that goes undetected is milk sugar—lactose.  Many of us lose the ability to adequately digest milk sugar as we age.  Without the enzyme to digest it, the lactose ferments in the digestive track, leading to bloating, gas and diarrhea. Lactose is present in milk products like cottage cheese, ice cream and regular, sliced cheese.  But it is often in unexpected places: flavored cereals, snack foods, margarine, muffins, granola bars and bread!  Plus, whey (a milk component) and non-fat milk are also used as binding agents in processed meats like salami.  If you think you might be “lactose intolerant”, but don’t want to give up cheese, you can try true aged cheeses.  Generally known as the ‘hard’ cheeses, the natural bacteria that ages the cheese also digests the milk sugar!  Cheese aged at least 9 months will have the lowest lactose levels.

Learn more about lactose intolerance in this helpful article from Cornell University:

 Hidden Lactose


Next post:  Holiday Eating–Part Two

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