First, a funny bit...
Chistmas Cookie Rules
If you eat a Christmas cookie fresh out of the oven, it has no calories because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test and thus calorie free.
If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie, it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories (water has the same properties here).
If a friend comes over while you're making your Christmas cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend's first cookie is calorie free, rule #1 is yours also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone and, being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie calorie free, as well.
Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.
Any calories consumed during the frosting of The Christmas cookies will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.
Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have three and green ones have five - one calorie for each letter. (Make more red ones!)
Cookies eaten while watching "Miracle on 34th Street" have NO calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.
As always, cookie "pieces" contain no calories because the process of breaking causes calorie leakage.
Any cookies consumed from someone else's plate have no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. (We all know how calories like to CLING!)
Now, with the funny part out of the way...
Dieting during the holidays takes on new meaning after WLS. We all know "the reason for the season," but Christmas is often just one long feast! We get gifts of goodies from friends, neighbors and coworkers. We attend parties and get-togethers where there is a mile-long buffet table of not the greatest food choices. And, to top it all off, you have a huge holiday meal on or about Christmas day followed a week later by yet another chance to feast at New Year's dinner or on New Year's eve while out celebrating with friends/family. It is no longer about just not overindulging. It is also about finding items that make good food choices on the average party platter or buffet.
ALWAYS go for protein first! This will come in many, many forms on buffets! Good sources to look for are things like shrimp (usually put out for cocktail), meat and cheese that can be rolled up without the crackers or bread that some folks will choose to accompany it, meatballs, chicken wings, and more. These are all common party finger foods these days and great sources of protein.
Always be careful to look for hidden sugars though. Meatballs, for example, might be in a brown gravy (good) OR they might be in a sugary barbecue sauce (could be bad!). If they are in a sauce that you are concerned about, just try one meatball and wait... Then, see how you feel in a few minutes. Dumping can be a fast reaction. I've personally dumped on 1 teaspoon of regular barbecue sauce drizzled over lean, smoked beef! No way it was anything else! The beef sure wasn't the culprit!
Recently, I've attended several gatherings where there were numerous hot dip items that were also good sources of protein. One yummy one was a buffalo chicken dip that I'll post a recipe for in my next post. YUMMY!! Another was a multi-layer Mexican dish that was refried beans, cheese, olives and more. Both of those items could be good choices for even an early postop as they were something even someone on pureed foods could do!
The key here is to remember your protein sources--meats, cheeses, beans, nuts and such. Then, once you've filled your pouch with protein, if you are able, you might try a bite or two of those other items that you just want a taste of to soothe that savage craving you've had since arriving at the gathering and seeing some of the items on the buffet! Perhaps try Susan Maria's 3 bite rule! It goes like this:
The 3 Bite Rule--
The first bite is to get a good taste.
The second bite is to verify it was as good as you thought it would be.
The third bite is your last bite, so savor it.
I try to follow this rule when trying things like stuffing, potatoes, carb-heavy casseroles, sweets, and other things that I know may either make me sick or just plain make me feel bad that I caved in and ate them... And, as long as I wait till after I've eaten my protein for the meal, I can't eat too much of that stuff anyway!
SparkPeople has an article up now about dieting during Christmas... Check it out!
I will admit that this year--over two years postop, was the first holiday season when I felt comfortable making my normal Christmas goodies and knowing that I could make them without eating much of them. I made my family fudge recipe. I made the decorated sugar cookies that I made every year for over 10 years till I had my surgery. And, I will admit that I ate a cookie! I ate some fudge crumbs as I cut it up for the gift boxes. I can make the goodies that my family and friends love and enjoy without feeling deprived...without eating them till it makes me sick... And, I get a lot of joy from giving those items to folks who can eat them in limitation and enjoy them sensibly. And, to soothe some of the folks who can't tolerate the sugar, I even included my Splenda pumpkin cake baked as mini-muffins!