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All around the world, food is considered to be an important part of any celebration. People have long associated the concept of cooking and eating together with a feeling of connection to others and sharing in their joy. Cultures who share communal traditions have a strong sense of community and a sense of identity about who they are. 


In America, the period of time between November and January is always an extra festive season. Cold weather draws people indoors and makes them instinctively want to eat comfort food and be near others. The nonstop invitations to things like Thanksgiving dinners, work parties, December feasts, and New Year’s gatherings means there are more than a handful of ways to splurge and indulge in one of our most favorite and social activities – eating together. The problem lies in how we indulge, especially in this day and age. 


Fortunately, there are many ways to still have fun while being restrictive. One idea is to reframe the purpose of the holiday period and send that message out to family and friends. The food and drinks are an added bonus, but not the central reason to get together. The beauty of the season lies in getting together with friends and family and cherishing the time spent with the people you love.


If weather permits, it might be good to get a little exercise by suggesting an activity away from the food, such as going for a walk. When socializing, try to give yourself distance from the food table to cut down on mindless eating. Make it harder for yourself to graze if this is something you know you tend to do. 


Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. This tip applies to a number of scenarios. If you show up to an event or even a grocery store on a completely empty stomach, you are bound to make emotionally-minded food choices, as opposed to logically-minded. You will end up eating or buying food you hadn’t originally planned on. In addition, one drink of alcohol on an empty stomach will affect you very quickly and lead to poor eating choices, so it’s a good idea to eat something first before even taking your first sip of alcohol.


Speaking of alcohol. It’s important to watch how many calories are in a drink. Eggnog and peppermint mochas are the worst offenders, followed by mixed drinks and wine and beer. 


The holidays are certainly centered around food and family traditions, but this does not mean that you have to over-indulge and set your new years resolution out on a bad foot.