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Mindful Eating this Holiday Season

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Since Thanksgiving weekend the numbers on the scale have likely been climbing, and they're going to keep climbing 'til New Year's Day, reports a new study. According to research by Cornell University, those extra holiday pounds aren't going to be packed away along with the decorations. You'll be lucky if you lose them by summertime!

Head off the weight gain now - mind your mouth and practice better eating habits while you still can. "I love the holidays for all the goodies," says Executive Chef, Jeffrey Wilfong. "But it's important to indulge in moderation. Eat healthy at home to keep up your energy, and navigate the holiday buffet table well so you can enjoy the offerings."



Be realistic! It's a good time to maintain your current weight, not to try to lose weight, says Chef Jeffrey, who joined us a year ago and has since been creating fantastically flavourful dishes with healthy, locally-grown ingredients. And at Ste. Anne's Spa, dessert is always on the menu!


First off, don't skip meals because you are going to end up overeating and expanding your waistline. "Starving yourself all day so you can indulge that night only sets you up for high-calorie feeding frenzy." At the festivities, always eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed, adds Chef Jeffrey. His philosophy is that less can be more - "eating right requires eating less but all the right things."

Most of us consume an additional 300 calories a day between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day - that translates to about six extra pounds by January, says holistic nutritionist Lisa Tsakos, of So before dashing off, be sure to curb your appetite with a healthy snack so you can resist those high-calorie party platters calling out your name. "A small, fibre- or protein-rich snack, like apple slices topped with nut butter or a quinoa and bean salad, eaten before heading out the door will help you control your nibbling at a party," says Tsakos.

Focus on fibre and protein at work and at home, she says. "Save the bread, potatoes, crackers, alcohol, and all sweets for holiday parties." But go easy - take just one trip to the buffet table and be picky, she says. Then move your socializing away from the buffet table.

Make sure to leave room for the treats of the season - you know you're going to be eyeing the dessert table so cut down on pre-dinner hors d'oeuvres. No second helpings! "Instead of denying yourself, manage yourself," advises Chef Jeffrey. "The best things in life are enjoyed in little bits and bites - three bites in fact! That'll leave you satisfied and not quilt-ridden the next day."


According to research, even small increases in weight over the holidays can lead to long-term weight gain so by mindfully managing your mouthfuls now, you can avoid the regret and pounds come January 1. Along with parties, the annual holiday turkey dinner is a minefield of calories. If it's your turn to host this year, Chef Jeffrey offers these tips on practicing healthy holiday cooking:


• Gravy: Refrigerate the gravy to harden the fat and then skim it off. Warm up and serve. Goodbye, calories!

• Dressing: Go easy on the bread and bring on the onions, garlic, celery and vegetables. Add pear, apple and cranberries. Hold the butter and moisten with chicken or vegetable broth.

• Turkey: Go for a piece of the breast, minus the skin.

• Mashed Potatoes: Hold the milk and butter! Smooth things out by using skim milk, chicken broth, fresh garlic and sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese.

• Desserts: Ditch the frosting and top Holiday desserts with fresh fruit, or a dusting of powdered sugar.