The holidays can be a tricky time. On one hand, everything is fabulous – lights, decorations, time with friends and family. It also means parties. With lots of food. Bad Food. Like cookies and cupcakes and cream puffs, breads, cheese dip and…well, you get the idea! How on earth do we manage to stay healthy during the holidays?! Don’t worry, I’ve got your back! Here are 8 easy tips and some healthy recipes to get you through the holiday season unscathed.
1. Eat before you go.
Have a green smoothie, a large salad, or some veggies and dip BEFORE you go to that holiday party or dinner. This way your appetite is satisfied before hand and you are getting in some much needed minerals and proper nutrition. As my clients know, cravings are always the body’s cry for more minerals.
2. Be prepared.
Holidays also typically mean lots of travel time. I always come prepared.
If I’m in the car, I’ll pack a soft cooler with ice packs and assorted veggies & dips as mentioned above, cherry tomatoes, Lara Bars, avocado with some sea salt (simply cut avo in half, sprinkle with a touch of sea salt and scoop out with a spoon – so easy and delicious!!), a green or chocolate smoothie, and some fruit. When you’re on the road there’s no telling what you’ll have access to, so it’s always better to be prepared!! If I know it’s going to be an all day trip then I’ll usually also bring a tupperware container with a homemade lunch like a baked sweet potato and salad or a simple sandwich.
If I’m flying I always make sure to have my green juice or green smoothie BEFORE my flight. Then I’ll pack some Lara Bars, cherry tomatoes, dark chocolate, Mary’s Crackers or some fruit like an apple. Unless it’s a very long day of airplane travel, I usually just try to skip eating all together until I get to my destination. Eating on the plane usually makes most people feel tired and bloated. The main focus should be on hydration since air travel is typically very dehydrating. Bring some herbal teas (I love Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice), you know you can always stop at a Starbucks to get hot water!!
3. Get centered.
Although we don’t always realize it when it’s happening, the holidays, even with all their excitement can be very emotionally draining. There can be several factors like family dynamics, loneliness, financial issues, and just the pure intensity of it all can be very overwhelming. Take some time for yourself by lighting a candle and drawing yourself a nice warm bath with epsom salts or listen to a relaxation or meditation CD. Let yourself decompress. Maybe you even need to skip a few holiday parties if you feel like you are just too overwhelmed. It’s ok. We need to take care of ourselves first! By nurturing yourself and taking time to get centered, you’ll be able to steer clear of bad choices and emotional eating.
4. Stay in your power.
Don’t feel the need to change your dietary habits just because it’s easier for others. Sometimes it’s difficult to come into a situation with friends or family when you are making changes and trying to better yourself – especially when it comes to diet! Other people can often become offended or hurt that you no longer want to partake in the unhealthy habits of the past. Stay true to YOU. What is going to make YOU feel better? If you’ve been feeling awesome with your cleaner way of eating, don’t let someone else bring you down because they feel insecure or uncomfortable. Stay strong and do what you know is right for YOU. Calmly and sincerely explain to them that this way of life makes you FEEL SO MUCH BETTER. The people that love you will support you in your healthier decisions if they know it’s having a positive effect on your life.
5. Bring some to share.
I’m always known to bring a dish to a party. An easy choice is a large veggie tray with yummy dipping sauces like hummus, guacamole, red pepper dip or a healthy homemade ranch dressing. It’s always a hit because who doesn’t like yummy dipping sauces? Plus, this way you are guaranteed to have a healthy option to snack on instead of being at the mercy of what’s provided at the party. I also like to bring a bar of 70% dark chocolate to have as dessert. This way I’m not tempted to indulge in all the crazy cakes, cookies, and sugary treats. You’d be amazed at how well dark chocolate will satisfy your sweet tooth (and without the guilt!).
6. Indulge in one favorite.
Are you a sucker for pecan pie or is your grandmother’s stuffing your absolute favorite thing in the whole world? Well then, eat it! That’s right, I said eat it!! Do everything else right (salad before the meal, load up with lots of veggies, proper food combining, ect) and then go ahead and ENJOY that one favorite dish. Don’t feel bad about it either! It’s one day out of the year and it’s important to ENJOY life, enjoy the things you love, enjoy time with your family and friends!! Do everything else right and know that one slice of pecan pie, in the grand scheme of things, is not going to set you back.
7. Don’t talk about it.
There’s nothing more annoying than having a dinner guest preach on about their dietary principles and guidelines. If you know you are going to a family affair where there will be ZERO vegetables then it’s your job to bring your own (see Tip #1), not to lecture the hosts on why they should be eating more vegetables or why your diet is better than theirs. That’s just bad manners! The same holds true if people are questioning you about your heaping plate of veggies. No need to go into all the nitty-gritty details regarding your diet, just comment on how delicious the veggies taste, how much you are loving them and how you just can’t get enough! You’re eating all those veggies because they taste good and make you feel good!
8. Go for it.
Thanksgiving dinner comes just once a year. If you REALLY love Thanksgiving and you REALLY want to have everything, the good and bad, then just go for it! ENJOY IT!!! It’s one day out of 365 and it’s not going to kill you! Yes, it would be nice if you tried to eat at least some veggies but like I said, if you want to, just go for it! Then get right back on track the next day with a green smoothie in the AM and lots of veggies. As long as you are willing to get back on track you don’t need to be worried about being a little overindulgent for just one day!
I hope these tips help you to navigate the holidays in a way that’s best for you. If you want to stay on track, go for it! But don’t beat yourself up if do decide to indulge a little. The holidays are about being with the ones you love and focusing on gratitude. Remember to be thankful, look at how far you’ve come, and enjoy yourself. Happy Holidays everyone!