The Holiday Food-Pusher

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christmas-cookies-1042540_640The holiday season is finally here. Festive décor, holiday shopping and spectacular food are some of the many magical aspects of this time of year. Holiday parties start to fill up your calendar, making it a bit difficult to stay on track with your health goals. More importantly, food-pushers come out in full force during this time of year.

A food-pusher is a friend or family member who, although he or she may have the best intentions, persistently tempts you with a specialty decadent dish. The holidays are a time where food-pushing is not only accepted, but it is almost expected by our loved ones.

Everything in moderation is key; if a food-pusher is pressuring you to eat something that you absolutely love, by all means, enjoy that item and eat sensibly. However, if he or she is pushing a dish that you could live without, there are some strategies and responses to help you avoid giving in.

Start With Honesty

Although this isn’t necessarily the easiest option, you should make your best effort to be honest with that friend or family member. If he or she is receptive to you and your health goals, explain that you are trying to make an important lifestyle change. While this isn’t my only go-to strategy, it sometimes works with the right person as they respect your journey, and they may even start to share their own personal healthy efforts.

You’ll Try It Later

The holidays are all about hustle and bustle. Typically, the standard holiday party is packed with guests. Expressing to friends or family members that you are too full now but would love to try a bite of the dish later may help them get distracted and let you off the hook. You can always take some of their dish in a Tupperware on your way home instead.

Change The Subject

After you let that person know you will have a bite later, you can divert his or her attention to another subject. Start to discuss your holiday plans, and maybe talk about your goals for the new year ahead. This helps make the occasion less food-focused, and centers more on genuine conversation and bonding with loved ones.

Opt For Some Tea/Coffee

This is my personal favorite strategy, as I find it the most effective. Typically, that food-pusher just wants to offer you something and be hospitable. You can respond by saying that you are very full now but would love a cup of hot tea or coffee. This is a happy compromise for both you and your loved one.

When All Else Fails, Sensibly Indulge

If all of these options aren’t working and that food-pusher is still encouraging you to try her famous chocolate cake at the end of the evening, then take a bite. One or two bites of a decadent dish won’t destroy your healthy efforts. Savor every bite, enjoy it, and be sure to commit to making healthy choices throughout the rest of the occasion.

PappasHeadsotStefani Pappas, RDN, CPT, is a clinical dietitian at St. Francis Hospital. She also provides private and group nutrition counseling at her office in Great Neck.

Visit www.stefhealthtips.com for more information.

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Long Island Weekly columnist Stefani Pappas, RDN, CPT, is a clinical dietitian at St. Francis Hospital. She also provides private and group nutrition counseling at her office in Great Neck. Visit Stef Health Tips for more information.

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