My 9 Favorite Holiday Indulgences

Every other week I rattle on and on about ways to incorporate healthy choices into your lifestyle. Whether it’s tips for staying motivated, reasons you should avoid alcohol, or how to recover from a weekend warrior session, I try to keep you on track to reaching your fitness goals.

But let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t want to think about being healthy. You just want to INDULGE and with the holidays upon us, we are surrounded by temptation. Naturally there are tons of articles floating around about how make healthy choices even when you’re bombarded by office holiday parties and family get togethers. Well, in true Lazy Girl fashion, I say: screw it. Don’t worry about your diet this month. Sometimes you need to embrace your inner fat kid and give ‘em some cake. And since I’m advising all of you to throw caution to the wind when it comes to diet and exercise, this week’s column is going to be a list of my favorite things about the holiday season. You’ll note how most of them are food and the rest are  related to sleeping or lounging.

1. The first snowfall. I realize this has nothing to do with health or fitness, but come on! Everyone gets excited when it snows. Next time you get a light dusting, see how many of your friends Instagram a photo of the first snowfall. I love to watch from the comfort of my living room as the lights from the Menorah and Christmas tree twinkle. (We celebrated both Hanukah and Christmas growing up in my house, just to clear up any confusion). Preferably I’m wearing my footie flannel pajamas with the drop seat as I sip some egg nog or hot cocoa, which brings me to my next two favorite things about the holiday season…

2. Egg Nog (but only with rum). If you’ve ever had virgin egg nog, it’s revolting. I’m not a fan of the texture. It kind of makes me want to gag. And I’m not sure if it’s the nutmeg or what, but the flavor also leaves much to be desired. It’s missing something… oh, yes, the RUM.

3. Hot cocoa with half a bag of mini marshmallows.You absolutely have to have it in some kind of festive mug shaped like a penguin in a Santa hat or something equivalent. Your cocoa will actually taste better. I strongly recommend making it with whole milk instead of mixing it with water like most instant cocoas suggest. Throw a candy cane in there for decoration and little peppermint boost. Life just got instantaneously merrier.

4. Latkes. If you’re Jewish, hopefully your mother or your Bubbe (that’s Yiddish for “grandmother” for all you non-Jews out there) has a killer recipe for these legendary deep fried potato pancakes. If you’re not Jewish, go find a Jewish friend who’s Bubbe makes a ridiculous potato latke. You won’t regret it. My mom’s latkes singlehandedly steal the show at holiday meal times. I swear she puts crack in them. Add a little dollop of apple sauce for a sweet-and-savory combination, the likes of which your taste buds have never experienced. Or perhaps a dollop of sour cream to smooth things out a little.

5. Popcorn in a decorative holiday tin. These tins usually come with three flavors of popcorn: butter, cheese, and caramel. The most I’ve ever seen in one tin was five and that was aggressive. There are also crazy combinations like chocolate peanut butter, coconut macaroon, and buffalo bleu cheese — yes, there’s a gourmet company that actually makes it *shriek* and no, I wouldn’t joke about something like that.  The only down side to the popcorn tin is kettle corn, aka the poor man’s caramel corn, which always leaves me feeling both disappointed and unsatisfied. It’s sticky like caramel corn and almost sweet like caramel corn but falls short. Womp womp.  For those of you DIY-ers out there, you can replicate the cheese popcorn by drizzling butter over plain freshly popped popcorn and sprinkling the cheese packet from a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese.

6. Holiday Specials. Whether it’s “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph,” or my personal favorite “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the holidays are not complete without claymation. Other holiday favorites include “A Christmas Story” (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”) and the black and white classic “Holiday Inn” with Bing Crosby featuring the song “White Christmas” which is now stuck in my head after typing it.

7. Stuffing. I go back for thirds and fourths when it comes to stuffing. I. Love. Stuffing. Pour some of the turkey gravy or — even better — the pan drippings over it and I could honestly forgo the rest of the meal. While I like almost all kinds of stuffing, Stove Top will always hold a special place in my heart (and tummy).

8. Pie. Pumpkin, apple, cherry … not a big fan of pecan, but I won’t say no. Any slice of pie needs an entire can of Reddi Whip and two scoops of Breyer’s vanilla ice cream. You know, the one with the black vanilla bean flecks. Be careful with the pie. It’s very easy to overindulge and not that I know what it’s like to eat an entire apple pie and vomit it all up an hour later, but I’ve heard you can make yourself sick. Consider yourself warned.

9. Falling asleep on the couch after dinner. Can there be any better feeling than a belly full of any and/or all of the aforementioned foods while dozing on your couch? I’ll save you the trouble of thinking about it and give you a resounding, NO, with the exception of falling asleep long enough to digest what you’ve eaten and go back for another round.

This piece was originally published on It is written by the lovely Kate Richlin-Zack, who fully admits to majoring in engineering to meet guys. Check out her guest article on Romance Never Dies. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.