It’s two days after Christmas, the kids are gone, the house is quiet, and I am looking back at the eating pleasures and disappointments of this year’s eating experience. This is my food version of Siskel and Ebert’s classic “thumbs up/thumbs down” movie reviews. Keep in mind that these are MY pleasures and MY disappointments. Yours are likely to be different, just as we will all prefer certain movies over others, but being more mindful means getting more of what you want from YOUR eating experience most of the time, during the holidays and all year long.
Disappointments (Thumbs DOWN)
Marbled Pound Cake (made by me with a special family recipe from my Grandma)
Why? I ate a small piece while busy getting dessert for everyone else. I was focused on serving, but hey, I always have a piece on Christmas Eve, so I ate it with my mind elsewhere . . . couldn’t even tell you what it tasted like!
Why? I tasted a small piece at Christmas dinner. It looked juicy and yummy, but I could feel my body dehydrating with each bite . . . too salty!
Why? It came as part of a gift box, and to me this was just a waste of space that could have been better filled with nuts, chocolate, or fruit. I don’t like caramel corn much, so I had no problem leaving it in the bag. (It would have been more disappointing if I had eaten it.)
Holiday Eating Pleasures (Thumbs UP)
NOT eating the caramel corn
Why? I don’t really like it, so why bother? It saved room for . . .
ONE Godiva Dark Chocolate Truffle
Why? Mmmmm. Perfect size for a treat. Small, decadent, expensive (makes it even more special), all with the health benefits of dark chocolate.
Marbled Pound Cake
Why? This was the same cake mentioned above as a disappointment, but the experience was completely different this time. I ate it the day after Christmas in a quiet house . . . tasted and enjoyed every bite.
Tossed Green Salad (with pomegranate seeds, avocado, roasted beets, goat cheese, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette)
Why? Why not?? What’s not to like about that? I kept going back for more.
Leftover Chicken Enchiladas (small amount of enchilada mixed with a huge helping of steamed broccoli)
Why? This was the day after Christmas, and it was the perfect blend of clean food with the flavor of delicious homemade enchiladas. It filled me up and tasted delicious. It put me in a “back to normal” eating frame of mind.
Harry and David Pear
Why? This was simply the best pear I have ever eaten. We get a gift box with 6 of these from my financial planner every year (along with the caramel corn!), and they truly are a treat to be savored. I would choose one over almost any other treat. And it’s healthy!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Why? I just love them. Roasted with a little olive oil and seasoning, they get crispy on the edges and taste delicious. Nutritionally, they are super foods, and I feel healthy eating them.
Homemade Apple Pie with Hagen Daz Vanilla Ice Cream
Why? This capped off a delicious Christmas dinner, and I had only a sliver (the perfect amount to savor). The crust was crunchy, the filling was perfectly sweet and gooey. Rich vanilla ice cream was the perfect complement. I think I make a good apple pie, but this one made by a dinner guest was better than anything I have ever made. I ate it slowly and enjoyed every bite!
My Holiday Eating Insights
1. I am doing a good job of choosing what I really want. My list of disappointments is much shorter than my list of holiday food pleasures.
2. I will never make perfect choices all the time. Sometimes it is is impossible to know without tasting, and sometimes I don’t make completely mindful choices. I’m human!
3. The eating experience depends on more than just what is being eaten. Enjoyment is greater when I am relaxed and focused on what I am eating.
4. “Healthy foods” can be tasty, and “pleasure foods” that are truly enjoyed can help make overall eating more healthy. (There is nothing like deprivation to fuel a binge!)
5. The holidays are to be enjoyed, and food is only a piece of that experience.
Happy Holidays! I hope most of your food choices feel kind.