Read the latest installment of CWF president Shari Landry’s monthly column below or at

It’s hard to believe that it is already the holiday season and that 2019 is right around the corner.  What a delightful, busy and, for many, complicated time of the year!  

Once Thanksgiving arrives, the events, parties and gatherings begin.  There is so much fun to be had and even more eating to be done.  It seems like food is everywhere…candy, fudge, cakes, dips, finger foods, casseroles and more.  For me, it becomes almost impossible to get through a day without indulging in food I can easily pass up any other time of the year.

I recently asked Jena Savadsky Griffith, RDN, nutritionist at Powell Wellness Center, for suggestions about how to eat my way through the season without shame and the addition of a whole lot of extra weight.

Jena reminded me of several good tips that I’ve heard before:

• Make a tasty, healthy dish to share at potlucks.

• Don’t skip meals in order to save calories or space for a big eating event.  

• Use small plates and start with veggies when offered lots of food choices at a buffet or party.

• Be mindful of medical conditions or allergies and eat accordingly; don’t be tempted to eat things that could compromise your health.

But my real question to Jena was, “How do I make relatively healthy choices without feeling like I’m depriving myself of all the good food that is surrounding me?”  Jena suggested the following:

• Eat some light, healthy snacks before going to a party or event.  You’ll make better choices if you aren’t starving when you arrive.

• Celebrate with foods that are naturally sweet and in season like pumpkin, squash, and cranberries which are readily available and can satisfy your craving for sweets. Enjoy the flavors of butternut squash or sweet potatoes or make a creative dessert like figs stuffed with nuts.

• Eat mindfully. Choose your real indulgences consciously (for me that will be pecan pie!). Enjoy every bite and eat it slowly. When we eat mindfully, we naturally eat less and feel more satisfied.

• Don’t stand near food tables at a party.  Stand far enough away that you need to think before you refill your plate with all the tempting goodies.

• Be nourished by the people you are with. Instead of focusing on the food, spend time reconnecting with old friends, getting to know someone new or go out of your way to include others in a conversation. Nourishment comes in many forms and sharing time with friends and family is a most meaningful way to nourish yourself.

I’ll be keeping Jena’s suggestions in mind over the next several weeks and hope you might find them helpful as well.

From all of us at Culpeper Wellness Foundation, we wish you good health and much happiness during this holiday season.