When I Eat All the Things at Yule

Does this hat make me look chubby? Image by Hasloo via Canva

Okay, y’all, I make no secret of the fact that I’ve struggled with my weight all of my adult life. I’m pretty healthy and strong these days, but I know I’ll never be skinny. Regardless, because I love to cook, the holiday season can be a real challenge for me – but I’ve figured out over the years that if I set a few basic rules for myself, I can keep things under control during December. This way I don’t spend January through April hating the way my ass looks in a pair of yoga pants.

Watch Your Portions

One of the biggest mistakes you can make during Yule is using a large plate. After all, we’re all trained to finish whatever we take — which means if you have a big plate, you’ll end up with a big meal. Use a smaller sized plate, and you’ll automatically end up with less food. Remember, a “serving” is a specific amount, not how much you can eat in one sitting.

Add Some Greenery

No matter what you plan on eating, make sure at least fifty percent of your food is green vegetables or fruit. Make your first course a salad or a pile of savory veggies. The vegetables and salad will help you fill up on healthy calories, which means you’ll eat less of the food that doesn’t have much nutritional value.

Hurray for Soup!

Many nutrition experts will tell you that the human stomach feels full about twenty minutes after you start eating. Start off with a bowl of soup or broth before your main course, and that way by the time your entree arrives, you’ll be well on your way to being full already. A full feeling means you’re done eating. Also, it means that the slower you eat, the less you’ll eat.

Schedule Your Snacks

It’s really easy to graze on snacks all day, especially if you have them sitting on your desk at work, or on the counter in your kitchen. Instead, schedule your snack time just like you do meals. Plan on having a healthy snack halfway between breakfast and lunch, and again in the middle of the afternoon. This not only will help you cut back on calories, it gives you something to look forward to.

Get Up and Walk

Feeling a little bloated after eating Grandma’s turkey? You’re not alone – but you don’t have to be miserable. Go for a brisk walk around the block, and you’ll feel rejuvenated. Plus, you’ll be burning off some of those calories you just gobbled down!

Don’t Eat on the Go

Most people find they consume more calories if they eat standing up, in the car, or straight out of a package. To combat that, only eat sitting at the table, and use a plate and fork. Don’t wander around the kitchen picking and grazing. Take the time to sit down, and you’ll most likely eat less. Besides, this gives you a chance to spend a few minutes with family at the end of a hectic day.

Eat Before You Party

It’s tempting to go to a potluck dinner and sample a little of everything, but that’s a really good way to pack on the extra pounds. Before you go to a party or event where there will be food, be sure to eat ahead of time. Snack on a bowl of soup, some peanut butter, or an apple and some yogurt. Don’t ever go to a party hungry, or you’ll make yourself miserable.

Chocolate Santas

Everyone loves Santa Claus, and everyone loves chocolate. Put them together, and you’ve got a delicious holiday treat. But what inspired this idea in the first place? Who came up with the idea of chocolate Santas? And is it really nothing more than ritualized cannibalism?

Ho ho ho, y’all. Image by Webandi from CC0 via Canva

Chocolate is known as an aphrodisiac the world over today, but until fairly recently, it was mostly the domain of the Aztecs, the Mayans, and European royalty.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Industrial revolution brought equipment that mixed dried cocoa powder with cocoa butter. This resulted in a form of chocolate that was not only pourable, but easy to mold.

Most likely, the Germans can take credit for making the first chocolate Santa Clauses — December 6 is known as Nikolaustag, or St. Nicholas’ Day, and the traditional gift appears to have been a toy and a piece of chocolate. Even today, nearly thirty million chocolate Santas are sold each winter in Germany alone by the Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Company, according to a 2013 interview with marketing director Heike Bootz.

 In the book Pagan Christmas, authors Christian Ratsch and Claudia Muller-Eberling posit that the ritual consumption of the chocolate Santa is a way of “butchering” Father Christmas after we’ve unwrapped our gifts. But maybe — just maybe — we do it because chocolate is really, really delicious!