It’s that time of year for families and friends to get together to be merry! I don’t know about you, but I used to get stressed out over social holiday events due to the lack of control of the foods I could eat at holiday parties.
I was worried about hurting the feelings of those who went to the trouble to make their special desserts and dishes, and I’d usually end up being polite and eating things that my body didn’t do well with. I’d always gain about five pounds and my hormones would suffer.
Consequently, I acquired a little anxiety about going to holiday parties and would sometimes even skip going to them altogether. Stupid, right?! Thankfully today I know better.
I’ve realized that just because I choose to eat healthy, living foods in order to feel and look my best, doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice social events.
These events are not only fun, but are also a great opportunity to introduce new foods to people – and if they ask, a great opportunity to let them know why I eat the foods I do.
I’ve also learned to stand up for myself and say “no” to foods I don’t wish to eat.
At the end of the day, the most important aspect of the holidays is spending time with friends and families – the food is just an added bonus. And as much as I like spending time with my family, it also brings me so much joy to share delicious and healthy dishes with the ones I love.
If you find yourself worrying about how to maintain your healthy lifestyle during the holidays, I recommend following these great tips I found the other day from Dr. Hyman. And they aren’t only for the holidays; they are great for all year round!
How to Succeed During the Holidays:
Restaurants, Business Luncheons, Social Events
• Be Obnoxious! Be clear about your needs and do not accept any food that does not nourish or support you. Do not assume you are being impolite; you are simply taking care of yourself.
• Choose the restaurant when you can.
• Tell the server you do not want bread on the table nor the alcohol menu. But do ask for raw cut-up veggies-no dip.
• Ask for water. Drink 1-2 glasses before your meal to reduce appetite
• Tell the server you will die if you have gluten or dairy. Not a lie-just a slow death.
• Ask for simple food preparation. Grilled fish with an entire plate of steamed vegetables with some olive oil and lemon drizzled on top. Always ask for olive oil and lemon in lieu of dressing. These often have hidden dairy and gluten as well as unhealthy oils.
• Skip the starches. Ask for double vegetables
• Avoid sauces, dressings and dips which are usually laden with hidden sugars, poor oils, gluten and dairy
• Follow “hari hachi bu.” Do as the Okinawan Japanese do and stop eating when you are 80% full. Instead of eating until you are FULL, eat until you are NO LONGER HUNGRY! Bring leftovers home as even too much of the right foods may spike insulin.
• Ask for berries for dessert.
Create An Emergency Pack
• Buy a small hand-held cooler you can keep in your car, at work, trips etc. It’s your life pack.
• What’s in Dr. Hyman’s Life- Pack:
- Small bag of raw almonds, walnuts or pecans
- Small bag of cut carrots or celery
- Small container of hummus such as Wild Garden single-serve packets –
- Can of wild salmon or sardines
- A container of chickpeas with olive oil, lemon, herbs, salt, pepper
- Healthy whole food protein bar (eat half in morning, half in afternoon)
- Bottle of water
Be Prepared For Holidays and Special Events
Sometimes you will have to eat someplace where you perceive to have no control. Avoid food-anxiety by planning ahead and making your host aware of your dietary needs and:
• Eat a small protein-based meal before the event
• Bring your emergency pack as a backup in case there is nothing to eat. You can always eat after.
• Just relax and eat. Choose nourishing foods such as lean poultry, fish, beans and vegetables. Have as many vegetables as you want. Do your best and relax. Stress will decrease your metabolic power. And remember, there is always tomorrow to resume your routine in the morning!
Happy Holidays everyone!
And remember, a little of what you fancy does you good. Food should never be feared, only respected.
Health Coach Jenna