It is the time of year when we are faced with deciding to stay on track with healthy, mindful eating or simply put it off until January 1st. Let us look at the Holiday season. It begins on Thanksgiving and ends on New Years Day. In between it is filled with get togethers and parties at work and with friends. Timing: Never go to a holiday dinner or party on an empty stomach. Make sure you have a decent breakfast and if the occasion is later in the day or in the evening try to have small well-balanced meals or snacks throughout the day. Not eating in preparation for a large meal only encourages overeating when you finally arrive at your destination. If it is a buffet, choose a smaller size plate. A full plate, though smaller, will make you feel satisfied. Beverages: If you plan on drinking try to consume a glass of water for every glass of spirits. Alcohol has a tendency to dehydrate and sugar cravings can be the result of dehydration. Try not to drink anything while you are eating. If you chew your food properly and don’t force it down with liquid you may find you will eat less. Portions: If it is a sit down dinner with many courses, have a small portion of each course without going for seconds. When the meal is totally finished see if there is anything that you still desire but first decide if you are truly satisfied. The stomach has a tremendous capacity to be stretched. When we overeat, as it begins to empty it will bring on the desire to fill it to its “new capacity”. Selections: If you are hosting a party, try to encourage your guests to eat healthier without making the selection unappetizing. Take the time to read the labels on any item you select. Try and find the most nutritious dips, crackers, pies etc. If you are buying packaged foods try to avoid items with chemicals, food dyes or those loaded with sodium, sugar and bad fats. When serving dinner serve very sweet fruit (grapes, melon etc.) after your last course and before serving dessert. Fruit not only cleanses the mouth but it can satisfy some of the urge for sweetness before the dessert table opens. Take time between serving each course. Give the food time to settle which will also encourage conversation. Exercise: If you are the guest get up and move around, use helping as an excuse or see if anyone wants to take a walk around the block. Holidays are meant to be Holidays. Enjoy all the foods you love but try to take it slow. Make each experience something you walk away from satisfied without thinking about what you should have tasted or avoided. Regrets: If you do over consume don’t beat yourself up about it. Get up the next day have a nutritious protein shake or a light breakfast. This will put you back on track.