The most difficult time of years for eating properly is upon us. It’s the middle of winter, the local vegetables are not as abundant, the festive cakes and candies are numerous, and eating is a social expectation. It’s enough to make anyone give in, but this is a friendly reminder that you are fully capable of eating healthy over the holidays!
Here are my guidelines to follow for having a healthy holiday.
Let yourself enjoy the holiday foods on the holiday itself, and not for the 24 days leading up to it. That way you can still partake in our social traditions with food, without throwing your body out of whack. If you eat healthy on a regular basis, your body should be able to handle a junky meal or two without too many issues. Pictured above is one of my favourite Christmas treats, the Terry’s chocolate orange.
2. Bake Your Own Healthy Treats.
Keep some whole food treats in your freezer or on hand in case the Christmas cookies at your work place are calling your name. This can include all sorts of delicious things such as muffins, cookies, and fruit. Personally, I like the taste of my baking better than store bought junk foods anyway. Check out the recipe for the Christmas cake shown above here. Its paleo and packed full of nutritious ingredients.
3. Stick to Your Principles.
If you wouldn’t buy non-organic chocolate with GMO ingredients for yourself, don’t buy it for other people. This is a tough one because it can add up really fast if you are making sure everything you buy is high quality, but people will be able to tell that you put a lot of thought into it. In previous years I have bought people junk food even though I don’t eat it, but I felt guilty about it. If you feel good about a present you are giving, people will be able to tell. A good alternative is to make home made healthy treats to give people for Christmas. Healthy Christmas treats can be dried fruits, date rolls, chocolate goji energy balls, chocolate bark, or anything else you can create in your kitchen with wholesome ingredients.
4. Encourage Your Family to Join You in Eating Healthy.
This won’t happen over night, but now that I have been eating healthy for a couple years, my family tries to cook healthier food at family gatherings. Also some of my family has started eating healthier because of my lifestyle as well. I like when they cook food that I can eat because it teaches them how to cook healthier meals and also they will eat it too; I care about my family’s health as well.
5. Bring Your Own Healthy Dishes to Family Dinners.
I love soup!
Don’t avoid social gatherings due to dietary restrictions. The best thing you can do is show up with your own healthy food, politely decline the desserts, and have some good conversations with the family. My diet has opened up a lot of conversations about health, which I really enjoy talking about, but it also teaches your family why it is important to you and some things they could change in their own lifestyle. Also socializing with family is an important part of health. Me and a few other family members contribute our healthier dishes to the event for everybody to try. This way we have food that is safe for us to eat, and other family members get to try our healthier options as well. I really like this because if other family members like it, they might start cooking it on a regular basis and have more healthy meals in their diet, it helps further encourage eating healthier in the family.
6. Don’t Take Things Personally.
Many people like to give anyone who is trying to eat healthy a hard time when it comes to social events and eating. Keep in mind that they are only doing it because your eating habits are making them feel insecure about their own eating habits. Avoid getting defensive or worked up when people bring it up. The easiest thing to do is just try to be polite and change the subject if you don’t feel comfortable talking about it.
7. Try to Keep Active.
December is the laziest month of the year, and its OK to take a break sometimes, but if you are anything like me, you have already been slowing down a lot the last few months due to the onset of winter. Remember that there are lots of fun winter activities that will keep you moving such as snow-shoeing, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, and if you don’t like the cold outdoors, try some hot yoga! Nothing motivates me to go to hot yoga more than when its super cold outside, I just can’t wait to get in that room and soak in the heat.
8. Don’t Let Yourself go.
You are letting yourself go if you are telling yourself you will eat better ‘next month’. This is a pet peeve of mine, people do this every year, and it never works! You will end up breaking any new years resolutions you make because you will experience overpowering cravings from all the junk food you have been consuming. Letting yourself have a few meals of junk is fine, and in fact healthy, but letting yourself binge eat for a month is unhealthy and self-sabotage.
Wishing you great health this Christmas!
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