The Holiday Season is upon us! Get out the special drinks, treats, and scrumptious meals, right? For so many the holidays mean special foods shared together. But what if you have to, or want to, eat healthier than the traditional fare?
Holiday celebrations can often bring up meals and foods that we have just always eaten, with no regard for health or calorie content. It makes it tough when you don’t want the extra fluff or inflammation that the holiday foods far too often deliver. Hmmmm???
News brief – it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can eat healthy and also enjoy the holidays. Here are 6 practical tips to assist you in having the healthiest holiday season yet.
- Have festive healthy holiday treats available to snack on and enjoy. Being proactive with baking, assembling or purchasing healthy options can help to make eating clean simple. Need ideas? Here are a few of our free recipes that can get you thinking creatively: Pumpkin Pie Crepes, Turkey and Cranberry Roll Ups, and Holiday Dessert Pizza. Watch for more creative recipes this holiday season on our website, Grain Free Mama’s. If you are short on time, you can quickly make crepes that are sugar free and delicious, like Chocolate Strawberry Crepes. Make them more festive by substituting cherries for the strawberries. Dried fruit and nuts make a sweet snack too. There are many options, just use your imagination.
- Eat break-fast like a king. The hyphen is in breakfast on purpose, so that you know that whatever time you actually eat your first meal of the day (where the term break fast comes from) go big and make yourself a warm yummy meal with protein, vegetables and healthy fats. For the meat-eaters, how about some scrambled eggs with ground sausage, sautéed asparagus and onions? Are you plant-based or vegan? Then how about a plant based vegan breakfast patty with sautéed vegetables? Whatever your protein preferences, it is good for our muscles and the stability of our blood sugar to eat well for our first meal of the day. It gets our engines running with the fuel to help to make our day a great one. Also, breakfast is a meal that is easier to eat individually on holidays. Getting in a healthy meal to start the day makes good food choices that much easier later in the day.
- Make room for your favorites. Give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays within reason without being your own food policeman. Once in a while you just get a taste for something in particular. Like maybe a potato chip specifically. You can eat other stuff thinking it is just that you are hungry, but if your body really wants that potato chip, then you may eat a lot of other stuff only to discover you still have that hankering for the potato chip. Your tastebuds might just need that little whatever. Taking one or two may just be all you want. (If this is an every day occurrence or you just cannot get enough, then you may have an unhealthy reaction to a particular food. In this case, it may be better to wait out the craving and stay away from this food entirely.)
- Water please? Sometimes we are actually thirsty when we think we are hungry. Have a drink of water before you eat a bunch of snacks to see which is the case. We often are partially dehydrated, especially if we drink coffee and tea a lot. It is easy for our bodies to get it confused. For every cup of coffee or tea we drink we should be drinking two cups of water to stay hydrated. Dehydrated people often feel like they are starving, which then makes it really hard to make healthy food choices.
- Want to go for a walk? Getting a little fresh air and exercise gives us time to enjoy a conversation with loved ones. It can also be a valid reason to get away from toxic conversation without causing a stir. Whichever one, it is good for us to do.
- Sweets before 3:00 pm to make sure you can sleep well. This one is a bit tougher, depending upon when your family typically eats the desserts. The best time to eat sweets is actually before noon, as it gives your body the longest time to burn it off before you go to bed, and your body will be satisfied with a smaller amount as your energy level is probably at it’s highest and most stable before noon. If you cannot eat your sweets until later, then refer back to #5 and see if someone will go on a walk with you after you eat your sweets. It will help to burn it off before bedtime.
The most important part of eating healthy for the holidays is your attitude toward the foods you choose to eat. How do you look at the healthier foods? Are the family favorites worth it to you if you get bloated, etc.? If so, then be kind to yourself and just get a little healthier this year so you can feel good about yourself. Then next year you will be able to make more progress. Two steps forward and one step back is still progress that you should be proud of yourself for.
Enjoy the holidays!