Holidays don't have to come with the guilt. And healthy eating during the holidays doesn't mean boring. Learn how to spice up your holidays while eating nourishing, nutrient-dense, whole foods!
1. Find real food substitutions for your family favorites. Most recipes can be easily tweaked to boost the nutrient content while minimizing "factory fats", unpronounceable ingredients, and inflammation-promoting foods. Use the chart to discover simple ingredient swaps to transform your favorite recipes.
2. Consider the emotional aspect. Uncovering the whys behind your choices of holiday menu and recipes. Are you baking 5 different pies because you desire to please everyone by catering to different taste buds? Or maybe you want to use Grandma's recipe for stuffing because it is a tradition? Or maybe you find pleasure in baking and serving others? Once you've nailed down the underlying reason, determine a healthy solution. Just imagine impressing the family with just one really good pie made from scratch with real food ingredients! (Don't tell them until they've devoured the last bite of pumpkin pie that the crust was made with tigernut flour!)
3. Don't keep junk food at your house. Assume anything that you have at your house will go in your body.
4. Balance with quality protein and fats. Carbs are usually easy to come by at holidays, so make sure you balance them with quality fat and protein which lessens the sugar and insulin spike. For protein, strive for the size and width of the palm of your hand. Incorporate quality fats such as grass-fed butter, turkey drippings, heavy cream.
5. Know your surroundings and the temptations that may arise. Minimize temptation by eating before the party and keeping healthy snacks at work.
6. Keep up with exercise. This helps to release stress, optimize digestion, beat the winter blues, and retain the spark to your metabolism.
7. Hit the “restart” button. So you indulged? Just because you gave in, doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Enjoy every bite guilt-free then start fresh by making a healthy choice at the next meal — beware of the “I’ll start again on Monday” trap.
8. Shop local. Support your local community as the holidays approach. You will also take pleasure in knowing where your food came from, that the fare was ethically raised, and that the nutrient-content is uncompromised. Local to DFW? Check out ROCK Farmers Market Buyers Club.
9. Impress the family. Not sure of what Aunt Sally is going to be serving? Host the gathering at your house. Impress your family by exhilarating their taste buds with wholesome foods! If you're not up for hosting the party, then don't show up empty handed! Take a healthy dish to ensure there is something you can indulge in.
10. Know yourself. Set realistic expectations for yourself. If you're one that goes on a sugar binge after a single bite of pumpkin pie, then maybe you shouldn't risk it and find a healthy alternative. However, if you're someone who can delight in a piece of pie without being thrown into the uncontrollable cycle of sugar addiction, then enjoy that slice! Determine your limits and try not to overthink or stress about it.
Bonus Tip! Don't forget to relax, soak up the family time, and enjoy your meal. Optimize your digestion by practicing mindful eating practices such as relaxing at mealtime, chewing your food properly, and stimulate those digestive juices! When we eat in a stressed state or don't chew our foods properly, we cause a cascade of digestive issues ranging from improper nutrient breakdown, bloating, and even inflammation in the gut!
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