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Is Eating Healthy During the Holidays Possible?

Updated: 17 hours ago


Eating Healthy During The Holidays

There are a lot of temptations that show up during your daily routine that can throw you off base when it comes to your health journey, and none are harder to handle than eating healthy during the holidays!


The holidays roll around, and suddenly there’s a whole new set of casseroles, desserts, and carbs that tempt you off the straight and narrow. But there’s no reason to despair!


With the holidays right around the corner, the best way to prepare yourself to continue to eat healthy is to have a plan in place before you encounter your first major feast. It’s possible to eat healthy during the holidays and continue to make gains in your health journey.


The Temptations

When you’re in the middle of a health journey, the focus is on eating whole foods and continuing to eliminate the desire to go overboard when eating. The holidays are all about high-fat and processed foods and having all of them in abundance. This leaves you with some distinct temptations that can lead you astray when trying to eat healthily over the holidays.


Overindulgence


Don['t go Overboard.

After the presents have been opened and the pleasantries exchanged, the feast is laid out! The host or hostess sets out the big plates, and everyone digs in.


Those big plates and having so many choices can be a big temptation! When you fill-up that big plate, even if you only take a small scoop off each dish, your mind thinks it needs to eat everything on the plate. Even if you don’t plan to fill the plate up, it’s hard for your mind to wrap itself around the fact that the plate is empty, and you might end up with more than you planned without even realizing it.


Processed Foods

Even if the holiday host is a great cook, there’s bound to be more than one dish that’s been highly processed this season.


While those processed foods are fine for your health journey, on occasion, spending the whole day eating them can throw your gut health out of line and leave you feeling yucky. Most dishes during the holidays are full of fats and carbs that, while delicious, can completely derail your eating plan as well.


Hydration

Food isn’t the only temptation that can pull you off the straight and narrow this holiday season!


The holidays are full of some of your favorite drinks with new flavors of coffees, rich eggnog, hot cocoa, holiday punch, champagne, and a whole host of other options that keep you from being hydrated. With all those options, it can take a lot of work to get enough water. Being hydrated can cover up a multitude of sins when it comes to getting off your meal plan. But with so many other options, it's difficult to get enough during this busy time.


Stress

The holidays can be stressful. Shopping for presents, extended time with family, the rush of holiday traffic, all of it can start to lead you back toward habits that weren’t helpful in your health journey.


As stress becomes more prominent, even in a transitory state, like during the holidays, it’s much easier to fall back on unhelpful habits. That holiday stress can trigger a reaction that carries on, and if it becomes enough, it can push you off your health journey completely.

There is hope! Even though the holiday season can be full of temptations that lead you off the straight and narrow of your health journey, there are a lot of ways to combat it all and continue making progress toward your goals!


Find Healthy Alternatives


Find Healthy Alternatives

Some of your favorite dishes during the holidays can be easily altered to make them healthier! If you’re heading to someone else’s house during this season, you can offer to bring a dish or two so you know you’ll have a few options that fit within your meal plan.

There are a few easy substitutes that help make a recipe a bit healthier.


● Swap out heavy cream for half and half or nut milk where possible

● Bake a turkey instead of deep frying

● Leave out the mayo in devilled eggs and choose plain yogurt instead


As you search through your recipe book, there are lots of other options and even whole new recipes that you can experiment with to make healthier options for the entire family. You might even start up a new tradition!



Moderation


Moderation

As you head into this holiday season, one of the key things to set your mind on is that everything is permissible in moderation when it comes to eating. Facing all those holiday dishes can be daunting. But choosing a few to try in moderation can keep you on the straight and narrow and still allow you to have some of your favorite foods!

As you’re working on making your plate for the day, take time and be mindful of everything you’re doing and do a few things to help make that moderation simpler.


● Choose a smaller plate. Your mind will see this as full, and when it’s empty, your body will be full too.

● Be strategic with your choices.

● Resist the urge to graze or go back for seconds.


Taking a small slice of pumpkin pie won’t destroy you! If you remain strategic about your choices and the way you build your plate at the holidays, having a few of your favorites in moderation lets you indulge without losing sight of your health and wellness goals.


Choose Homemade


Choose Homemade

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to head to the store and get everything you need, from a pie to a whole-cooked turkey. When you’re on your own health and wellness journey, one key is to consistently choose homemade and whole foods over those highly processed ones!

As you go through the holidays and encounter those big meals, seek out the dishes that are whole and homemade.


● Pick up as much whole protein as you can, like turkey and ham.

● Don’t avoid the whole veggies! There’s always one veggie try at a holiday party; take plenty of them.

● Choose dishes that still have a nutritional impact on your body.


Not everyone and every dish will opt for homemade but you can subtly make your choices and still keep on track!


Eat Slowly


Eat Slowly

The holidays are a rush. Everyone is running from place to place, the time we have together with family and friends seems short, and all that rush can be passed on to you when you eat a meal.

Eating too fast doesn’t allow for your body and mind to process that you’re completely full. When you’re in the middle of the holidays, slowing down while eating can help keep you from overindulging and falling off the wagon.


● Set down your utensils every few bites and take a sip of water to slow down.

● Take small bites and chew thoroughly while eating so you don’t go too fast.

● Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the meal.


The simple act of eating more slowly allows your body to get full and feel full, so you aren’t tempted to go back for seconds!


Take a Walk


Talk a Walk

One of the biggest things about the holidays is that it's often full of tempting snacks that stay out all afternoon or get rolled out as the day goes on. It can be hard to sit there and stare at a whole counter full of food and not be tempted to go through for another plate!

Getting up and getting moving is one of the best ways to separate your mind from this line of thinking and keep yourself from overindulging in those heavy sweets.


● Invite someone to go on a walk with you!

● Go out with the kids and play a game. Movement is movement!

● Even a walk around the yard or a stroll down the block can help distract you from food and help your body digest.


Movement is one of the best ways to keep your body focused on the goals you’ve established. The holidays can end up being a time of sitting around and chatting, so maintaining some movement even after a big feast makes it easier to handle!


Take Time for Yourself


Take Time For Yourself

Even though this season of the year is designed to focus on spending time with loved ones, it’s important to continue to focus on yourself as well. Your health journey is about you, and even during the busy season, you need time to yourself.


It can be hard not to end up feeling selfish when you take this time for yourself during the holidays, but it’s a vital component in keeping yourself on track.


● Step away from the events for a breather. Work through some breathing exercises to release stress.

● Give yourself permission to indulge in self-care.

● Don’t let yourself feel guilty for having some of your favorite foods or abstaining from others, regardless of what others may try to tell you.


The heightened stress during the holidays makes it hard to continue focusing on yourself and your goals. These moments of pause, where you can focus on what you’re trying to do, are important!


Stick to the Schedule


Preparation is Key.

Schedules are important. People thrive in a schedule, and when you’re trying to lose weight, there’s a lot riding on your schedule!


Even during the holidays, sticking as close to your typical meal times as possible gives you a lot more control over how you feel and what you eat. When you stick to this schedule, your body falls into the same pattern you have at home and keeps things on track. It can be hard when you’re in the middle of another celebration, so there are a few things to keep in mind!


  1. Bring a healthy snack or eat beforehand. If the meal isn’t going to be until 2 and you typically eat around 12, eat a healthy snack before you go or bring one with you!

  2. Talk to the host. They might be more than willing to move around the meal times or change the way it’s structured to help you out.

  3. Have a plan. Don’t go into the holiday season without a plan of when and what you want to eat during the season.


Create Community


Choose real food over processed.

Even during a time of togetherness, family, and friends, it can be isolating to be on your own health and wellness journey. It’s important to create a community within this space and not feel like you constantly have to “go it alone” at every meal, get-together, and opportunity.


Creating a community of like-minded people might be easier than you think!


● Include the holiday hosts, your family, and your friends in your journey, and tell them you plan to eat healthy during the holidays.

● Join a support group on Facebook or other social media where you can turn for help and advice.

● Engage with a health coach who can give you a plan and more tips on how to eat healthy during the holidays.


There’s no reason that eating healthy during the holidays should be isolating! While you may be surrounded by friends and family, being on this journey can leave you wondering who’s on your team. Let the encouragement begin when you include others on this health journey!


Takeaway

The first thing you might envision when it comes to food this holiday season is all the ways you’ll derail your meal plan with processed, out-of-plan foods.


But there’s hope!


As you get into the holiday season, there are plenty of ways to stay on track with your health goals and eat the food you like. Choosing healthy alternatives when you can, getting up and getting moving, and including others on this journey are all simple ways that you can continue to grow and build toward your goals without missing out on all that family time.

When it comes to food this holiday season, don’t let your health journey stop you from having your cake and eating it too!


Get Coaching Support

Seeking coaching support for healthy eating doesn't have to be a seasonal endeavor! If you're looking for ongoing guidance, I'm here to help. Schedule a complimentary 15-minute discovery call with me for continuous support on your health journey, beyond just the holidays.




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Dec 19, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great suggestions. Thanks for the timely tips.

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