By Cathy McDonald

Christmas is a special time of year—a time when friends and family come together to enjoy all we’re thankful for. And more often than not, we do this over food. Food plays such a central role in how cultures socialize. We enjoy preparing it for those we care about, seeing their enjoyment at the result of our efforts. And we enjoy the sights, smells and tastes that come with it. A whiff of a certain spice can take us right back to a childhood Christmas and while our memory of events might become less reliable over time, we never forget how a special family meal is meant to taste.

But for some of us, this can be a real source of angst. Our families and friends may not share the same eating habits as us and food at celebrations has a reputation for not being the healthiest of options. At times like these it’s important to take stock of why we eat and one of the reasons is enjoyment. We get into problems when we make enjoyment the primary reason for eating, but that doesn’t mean we should feel guilty for getting enjoyment out of food.

It’s a good time of year to remind ourselves that, when it comes to food, we get to make choices every day and the choices we make today are just that—the ones we made today. There will be a chance to make choices tomorrow as well. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up for a little indulgence; we should give ourselves credit that we can recognize the small space it occupies in a healthy diet.

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