Written by Michal Shelton, RDN, LDN
June 13, 2021
Often around holidays there are a lot more sweets/desserts and foods that provide calories without many health benefits. Holidays are also a time to connect with people and maintain meaningful relationships which is just as important for physical and emotional wellbeing. This year that may be virtually or at a safe distance from those you don’t live with. Navigating how to make quality food choices around the holidays can be tricky but the team at the Holistic Healing Center is here to help support you.
Michal’s top tips for healthy eating at the holidays:
1. Keep tempting food out of the house
This may be easier said than done but as much as possible avoid keeping around temping foods (these are often foods high in sugar and carbs). Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with nutrient dense foods and healthier alternatives such as pre-cut vegetables with hummus, fruit, nuts, dark chocolate (at least 70%). This may also be a good time to treat yourself to more expensive healthy snack options. Things like pre-packaged kale chip and dried vegetables such as from Rhythm superfood chips or various nutrient dense delicious protein or health bars from our office.
2. Consider alternatives to refined, high sugar foods.
Consider making healthy alternatives for the holidays. Swapping out sugar for alternatives like erythritol or monkfruit sweetener is an easy way to reduce added sugars.
If you want to talk more about healthier snack or recipe ideas contact us to set up an appointment and I will gladly provide you with ideas tailored specifically to your nutrition needs and goals
3. Stick to a schedule
It can be easy for busyness and stress to interfere with normal mealtimes but skipping meals can lead to overeating or making unwise food choices based on convenience and availability. Make sure to plan out regular, balanced, high fiber meals and snacks.
4. Know what works for you
Oftentimes eating highly palatable foods (those high in sugar and refined carbs) makes people want to eat more of them. For this reason, it may be best to avoid eating tempting foods altogether. However, certain people may actually find it helpful to eat a small amount of the specific food they’re craving. Sometimes telling yourself you can never have a food (unless it’s due to an allergy or food sensitivity) can make cravings for it even stronger and for some people lead to binging on the “forbidden food”. You know yourself best. The key is to make sure you feel confident and in control of your decisions.
5. Reject the all or nothing mindset
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that unless you are eating “perfectly” there’s no point in making healthy choices but that is not true! You can always start again wherever you left off. Continue to eat in a way that supports your overall wellbeing and health goals even if you mess up. Health is a journey not a destination.
*If you find that you need some extra help staying on track consider joining our detox support program that will be starting in January/
Questions to ask yourself before eating a “treat” food:
Have your previous meals been balanced with vegetables, quality protein and quality fat?
Are you truly craving this food or is there something else going on? (stress, anger, boredom, guilt)
Are you able to just eat a small amount of it and then move on?
Are you at a gathering with friends or family where eating this food would help you connect better with others?
If you answer no to any of the above questions it may not be the best timing/circumstances to eat this specific food.