Happy Hanukkah! Celebrating the Festival of Light (but certainly not lite!)

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Posted by jweinfeld on 2012-12-12 12:05

On Hanukkah, we celebrate the miracle of how a small amount of oil, enough to light the temple for only one day burned brightly for eight days and nights. To commemorate this, we eat plenty of fried foods and sweets. Between the latkes (fried potato pancakes), soufganiyot (fried jelly donuts), and  Hanukkah gelt (chocolate money), it can be quite a caloric holiday! Add to that all the Hanukkah parties and holiday goodies around the office, fighting the temptation can seem impossible!

By no means should you deprive yourself of delicious festive treats. That said, here are some tips to help you avoid overeating during the holidays:

  • Don’t “save room for later.” Better not to spend the day saying “I’m not going to eat lunch so I can ‘save’ room for all the amazing food later.” If you arrive at the party feeling ravenous, you will have a much harder time passing up on goodies. Eat your regular meals and snacks throughout the day. You might even try eating a protein or fibre rich healthy snack before you go to start to fill up your tummy a little bit, for example maybe some fruit with yogurt. This will take the edge off your appetite and help avoid overeating.
  • Step away from the food table. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly guilty of lingering at the table with food at the party. Don’t do that to yourself! Try to position yourself so the food is not staring you in the face and screaming “eat me!” 
  • Load your plate with veggies. Start with the veggie dishes first, and pile on the greens so there isn’t as much room on your plate for the higher fat foods.
  • Talk with your mouth full. Well maybe not full, but chatting while you eat will force you to eat slower, which usually leads to eating less because your mind has time to process all the food going into your tummy.
  • Feeling full is over rated. You don’t need to eat until you literally can’t move, which is what often happens. Pace yourself, breathe, gauge your hunger. Do you really need another latke or can you have a couple pieces of fruit for dessert and call it a night?
  • Easy on the drinks. Remember that alcoholic beverages contain quite a few calories. Enjoy yourself, but maybe wash your food down with water as well. 
  • Be comfortable saying no. Just because our beloved mothers and/or grandmothers have made enough food to feed an army, doesn’t mean we need to eat it all. It is ok to say “no thank you,” and pass on having second or third helpings, despite upsetting our parents.

Will you be making latkes this year? See my blog from last year for some tips on making your latkes more nutritious and less high in fat. http://www.healthcheck.org/content/have-happy-and-healthy-hanukkah



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