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|Nutrition and You: Surviving Holiday Food Functions|
Carol Ireton-Jones, PhD, RD
Enjoying the Holidays
If food and eating are issues for you, how do you survive holiday get-togethers, which all seem to center on food? It takes effort to attend activities and develop a social network. In some ways, attending a gathering is like exercising: getting started can be the hardest part, and you may not feel the reward until after you are done.
Set a goal to strengthen your “social endurance” by taking gradual steps. Little by little increase the types of events you attend and length of time you stay. When you feel you don’t have the energy or desire to attend, remind yourself that your presence can be very meaningful to the host and friends and family. If you are well enough, try to go. Get started building your social endurance — it will pay off in countless ways.
“Party” is defined as a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for socializing, conversation, and recreation. The definition does not include eating. You don’t have to eat! Rick Davis, President of the Oley Board of Trustees, cannot swallow. But, as he says, he enjoys parties because he can talk the entire time, without having to wait until he finishes a bite. Another lesson from Rick is that he goes to the parties and events. Often he carries a beverage, without drinking it, just to “fit in.” This gesture helps him feel comfortable. It also helps family and friends who might feel uncomfortable when someone who can’t eat joins them.
Holiday parties are ideal for strengthening social endurance because the food served is often in the form of appetizers or a buffet. You may find it easier to take a small taste of your favorites without anyone commenting on the small portion size. It may take longer to feel comfortable at sit-down meals or dinner parties.
Always choose healthy foods that you can tolerate and remember to sip your beverage slowly. Pace yourself and do not overdo it. Remember your hosts and other guests are glad to see you! Enjoy!
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