Tap This Back-Pocket Tip to Take the Pressure Off Navigating the Holiday Food Scene

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images
Decked out in your most festive holiday attire, you consider whether to pour yourself a second glass of eggnog. As you poise the pitcher over your cup, you think, Well, I can only get this stuff once a year. In Instagram parlance: It me.

Yes, we fully endorse pouring the eggnog (check out these dairy-free recipes). But according to Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, it's this this once-a-year-opportunity mindset that trips up a lot of people when it comes to not waking up the morning after every holiday bash feeling totally, well, blah.

At our latest Wellness Collective event with Athleta, Zeitlin shared the holiday eating tips that she personally uses to power herself through the season of cookies and eggnog.

"The whole point of these events is to connect," Zeitlin says. "We’re seeing our co-workers outside of the office to know them in a different way. We’re seeing family we only see once a year. These are the conversations and connections you want to focus on, because that's what this time of year is all about. Keep in mind that the food is the background. It’s not the star of the show."

"Keep in mind that the food is the background. It’s not the star of the show."

By changing your mindset to view this as the season of connecting rather than the season of sugar overload for sugar overload's sake, it can give "making the most of the holidays" a whole new meaning, Zeitlin says.

But if that's too touchy-feely for you to use as an actual game-plan (we get it, if mindset changes were easy no one would struggle with this issue), try Zeitlin's "pick two" method for a set of more tangible holiday eating tips to help you approach the season more intuitively.

With the "pick two" method, Zeitlin breaks down foods into four main categories: alcohol, bread basket, starchy mains, and desserts. She advises that before any gathering where food will be present (this method works any time of year, not just the holidays), you predetermine which two you want to have.

So if you're going to a dinner party at an Italian restaurant known for its tiramisu, maybe you pick pasta and dessert. Or maybe you're not a fan of tiramisu and you love Italian wine, so you order a salad for your main dish and pair it with a big glass of Chianti and some fluffy breadsticks.

The key to whatever you decide on (there's no wrong combination!) is to fully enjoy your selections, guilt free. And don't worry: It's not a law. If you want more than two things, that's cool, too. It's all about finding the version of balance that works for you without getting overwhelmed by the (literal) buffet of options.

So go ahead and pour that second cup of eggnog. Just remember it'll taste even better over a meaningful conversation—promise.

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