Tuesday, November 16, 2010

tale of two weekends, or why it's important to prepare.

my husband and i went down south a couple of weekends ago, to celebrate my husband's birthday and to see off one of his family members who was moving back north. on saturday, there was a massive family gathering, complete with barbecued chicken and pulled pork sandwiches and macaroni and cheese and broccoli salad and a whole host of appetizers, including chips and salsa and fried pickles.

i'm not kidding. it was foodapalooza up in there.

though i ate some breakfast and tried to make good choices, it was very difficult because i was in an unfamiliar environment.  i didn't have an intimate understanding of what was available to me and, though i know my mother-in-law would have given me anything that i wanted (especially since i'm pregnant, but really any time because she's a caretaker like me), i just didn't know how to choose wisely without alienating anyone or making myself a nuisance.

this puts me in mind of the upcoming holidays, which for many of us will include trips to faraway (or nearer) places that are not as familiar to us. even when you're going "home" to your family's house, they won't always do what you do or have healthy snacks available.

this alone can derail even the most disciplined of healthy eaters, because you can't eat what you don't have and you can't go days without eating.  for me, it's an even bigger challenge as second trimester has brought with it the need to snack often (and i'm trying to do it wisely).  so, i'm planning ahead.

meg gave some outstanding tips for travel snacks in a previous post, which is an excellent place to start. here are a few things i thought of (and will be doing myself) as well.
  • ask to bring something to the celebration, and make it healthy. perhaps you can suggest a bowl of healthy nuts, or a veggie plate with reduced fat ranch or (even better!) a hummus dip.  that way, you're contributing and you're providing for yourself a healthy snack opportunity. 
  • depending on how close you are to your hosts, you might ask to add a vegetable side to your holiday celebration.  i found that my family was very open to this suggestion, making the traditional fare of green bean casserole, corn pudding, and assorted other vegetable variations more healthy or at least offering additional low-calorie options. a green salad can go a long way, as can some steamed broccoli.  they're not labor intensive, they're crowd favorites, and they add an additional option for you besides potatoes and stuffing.
  • pack non-perishable snacks in your bag.  you might want to portion out snack-size bags of dried fruit (my favorites are craisins [which do have added sugar, but are fine in moderation] and dried apricots, but i've found that the dried mixed fruit is quite yummy as well.  you might also consider packing some hardy fruit as well; i'm a big fan of apples right now, and they travel well.  with both of these options, if you eat the snacks, great. if you don't, then that's okay too.  they'll keep--and that's the beautiful part. nuts and small tupperware containers of peanut butter with some crackers can provide a nice balance of protein and carbs as well.  all of these things can remain in your luggage, calling attention to no one, until they're needed. 
  • bring a water bottle or a cup of your own.  i don't know if you've noticed this, but if you're someone who counts your ounces or keeps track of your consumption, it can be very difficult to keep track when you're constantly guesstimating.  if you can, bring a refillable water bottle (plastic doesn't count!) or a cup that you claim as your own.  keep it filled and keep emptying it.  water will do wonders for the increase in your sodium intake (who can resist the chips and salsa? really?) and for your appetite as well.
these are just a few of the ways that i hope to curb my past weekend's indiscretions (i swear, i gained 5 pounds in one week) and keep myself from the blinding headache that accompanied a huge turnaround in my eating habits.  planning ahead for some continuity, and trying to incorporate healthy choices into your holiday menus, will make you even more grateful during your family time. 


  1. Great post! My favorite website for healthy snack ideas is http://www.snack-girl.com/

  2. You are pregnant so you looked past the alcohol consumption part. It's not usually HUGE at thanksgiving, but post thanksgiving when people are at xmas parties it is. the thing with alcohol is that the body cannot use the sugar so it turns straight to fat. not to mention it's just extra calories. it slows down the metabolism for 72 hours, so don't think "oh i can just have one," because 1 will slow it down, just the same as 17 will. and it also lowers your inhibitions, so you are more likely to eat more junk after having a glass or two of wine. to find out ore tips on how to lose rather than gain during this holiday season, check out: