Turkey coma, food baby, sugar high — when it comes to Christmas calories, there's really no end to the overloading (or over-serving). And, because mom's homemade apple pie, a second mug of eggnog, and that figgy pudding might all be impossible to resist, we're saying, "Don't resist!"…or, at least don't feel guilty if you go for the eating gold. Yes, here at R29 HQ we spend as much time agonizing over our lunch orders as we do picking out our outfits — and we spend double the amount of hours on both during the celebratory season.
Look, we all understand the need to indulge, so we've rounded up our very own festive food philosophies to offer some moral support. Think of it as an editors' eating list to comfort your cookie habit…or help you find an alternative to those mashed potatoes you love so much. Some of us fill half our plates with veggies, some of us stock up on special super foods, and some of us say "the more desserts the merrier," but, in any case, we're all paying a bit more attention to our waistlines as the trays of homemade treats pour in, and you're invited to peep our seasonal pantries so you can have your cake…and fit into that hot new cocktail dress, too.
Designed by Naomi Abel
Zooey Purdy, software engineer
"If you feel the urge to sleep after gorging on turkey, do it! Nap time is one of my favorite activities, and, if you're sleeping more, you're not eating more!"
Sara Little, commerce account manager
"My Holiday Food Philosophy: Keep it clean Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday are fair game: Indulge!
Snacks: I try to stick to plant-based proteins, such as raw, unsalted almonds from Trader Joe's. Almost impossible to overindulge because they're so filling. Perfect to nosh on right before that holiday fete where you know a cheese plate will try to ambush you.
Hemp milk from Living Harvest: Hemp milk is one of the only nondairy milks with Omega-3s, which I'm told are important. If you heat the hemp milk and add a dash of cinnamon (good for your digestive fire, according to Ayurveda), it's a bit like a chai latte.
Carrot sticks and Sabra roasted red pepper hummus with a dash of Sriracha. I put Sriracha in just about everything. That extra kick of spice is good for digestion and adds a little rosiness to your cheeks!
Really, the best philosophy (I think) is to just lighten up a bit...it's the holidays, man. Most of us at no other point during the calendar year would ever consider polishing off a whole pecan pie, with a fork, standing in front of the open fridge, at 2 a.m. 'Tis the season...for whole pies and a wardrobe of oversized sweaters."
Shawna Strayhorn, director of business intelligence
"Fill half your plate with something green! Right now, I'm into spinach and garlic or collard greens."
Tara Rasmus, beauty contributor
"Around the holidays, I definitely try to save my calories for the main event, but there's no way that I can run around cooking all day without some sustenance. I usually try to have a healthy breakfast (this usually means eggs), and then snack on things like cheese and crackers or hummus with crudités to tide me over. Once the food is on the table, I try to focus on things like the turkey, veggies, and cranberry sauce, rather than heavy mashed potatoes or gravy. When it comes to fitness, the thing that's saved me for the past couple of years is the Family Fun Run, which basically involves my sisters-in-law running me around town in preparation for our feast (their idea of fun, not mine!). Painful, but it makes for great bonding, and I can enjoy my food guilt-free!"
Kelsey Miller, SEO editor
"It's all about squash for me. Of course I indulge in all the seasonal goodies, but I make sure a good portion of my plate is covered in the traditional acorn or butternut squash, which are loaded with healthy, filling fiber, not to mention Vitamin A (your winter skin will thank you!). Even when I'm not at holiday-dinner parties, I like to make squash-based meals this time of year. My new dinner obsession is spaghetti squash, sauteed with kale and shallots."
Lexi Nisita, associate community editor
"I normally abide by the old idea that a lot of smaller meals are better than one big one, but for the holidays, I'm flipping that upside down. I know I'm not going to be able to resist the many courses once I'm at the table, so I'm going to let myself go all out at big meals and try to just eat as little as possible around that. I won't (and can't) starve myself, but I think the anticipation of the deliciousness to come will keep me off random snacks I don't really want or need during rare eating off-hours. The one thing I know I won't be able to resist for a midnight treat? Panettone with homemade whipped cream!"
Neha Gandhi, deputy editor
"To be honest, I don't like to deprive myself too much (I'm the queen of the office candy jar), so I only have two rules to get through the season without feeling gross. First, I always order a side of veggies (not fried or drowning in oil) to go with my meal at dinners out, so I can fill up on something reasonably healthy instead of splurging with an entire 1,000-calorie main. And, second, I skip past hors d'oeuvres because I can never keep track of what I'm eating when I'm standing and have a drink in hand (plus, eating while talking without making a mess is kinda stressful!)."
Annie Georgia Greenberg, New York editor
"Wine, baked goods, cheese platters — these are a few of my favorite things. And, I'd rather be on the naughty list than skip out on my favorite holiday indulgences. So, I don't. I just make sure to balance everything out by drinking lots of water (sometimes with lemon and cayenne pepper — especially in the morning), and always have some sort of veggie situation on my plate. In short: Anything homemade doesn't count."
Megan McIntyre, senior beauty editor
"Someone once told me that fasting before a big meal actually only makes you eat more — jury is still out on whether or not that's true, but I take it to heart, meaning I allow myself to indulge at the holidays. I spend 10 months a year being as healthy as I can be, so I take the holidays as my time to let loose and indulge (within reason). The only thing I don't eat this time of year (or any time of year, if I can help it) is processed foods — when there are all these amazing homecooked feasts to look forward to, why would I waste my time with stuff that comes out of a box? The one thing I'm most excited to eat is mashed potatoes with gravy. It seems so tame, but it's the food that best conveys the holidays to me — warm, comforting, and inviting. Also, did I mention gravy? Who doesn't love gravy?"
Christopher Bunk, VP of technology
"To stay healthy during the holiday, I like to introduce alternative vegetables and grains, such as quinoa. This food has been cultivated in the Americas for at least 3,000 years, with some estimates going back to 5,000 years, so its pedigree as an American food is assured. The Incas called it the "mother of all grains." Its super-tastiness and healthiness can support a wide range of flavors, so you can always try something new with it.
Another favorite is to make cauliflower mashed potatoes as an alternative to regular mashed potatoes. Although this vegetable technically isn't an American vegetable, it's a healthy choice over carb-heavy potatoes, and I dare say, the taste makes it a great choice."
Christene Barberich, editor in chief
"Sweet potatoes. They're a favorite of my mom's, so I've been eating roasted sweet potatoes since forever. And, they are truly the perfect food: super-satisfying and nutritional in every way. I would eat them every night for dinner if I could."
Gabriel Bell, staff writer
"I eats what I sees."
Lisa Dionisio, production editor
Kristian Laliberte, senior editor
"Listen, 'tis the season to indulge, and if there's ever a time to have your cake (or candy cane, or gingerbread, or stuffing) and eat it, too, bingo! I think it's a bad idea to deprive yourself on special occasions, but just make sure to balance out the gluttony with a bit of Sparta. If you know you're going to pig out at night, eat super-healthy during the day. Or, add an extra 10 minutes to your run. Just don't skip the peppermint ice cream with fudge sauce. You'll regret it."