Surviving the Holidays – Four Tips from Simply Natural Health
Today, I am thrilled to feature a guest post from Kim Wilson of Simply Natural Health. Kim has a wealth of knowledge and experience creating recipes that fulfill a wide variety of needs, from specific food allergies to a certain health conditions. Today, she is offering some tips to help us survive the holidays without falling off the nourishing food wagon. With the typical holiday stress, it’s easy to overindulge and then be left feeling miserable. Kim tells us how to avoid that!
It’s a season of love, joy, peace … and stress? For those us trying to make healthy dietary decisions, the holidays can be a struggle, especially when we are sharing meals with those who don’t adhere to the same eating style as we do. So, how do we survive the holidays without sacrificing good times or our healthy lifestyle?
It’s sad, but true, that many people who follow a healthy diet opt to “check out” of holiday gatherings. Relationships are of such central importance in our lives, that we really shouldn’t let our dietary choices limit our interactions with others. I’m happy to share that our family has successfully hosted holiday meals in our home for years and we’ve attended family gatherings and work/friend parties with ease.
How is this possible? The key is planning ahead. If we just “show up” we’re setting ourselves up for failure, and we’ll end up feeling more and more deprived or embittered as the turkey, stuffing and pies are passed round. Having a strategy before the event makes a world of difference!
Strategy #1. Bring some good stuff! It is so important to know that you have some good options when you attend a holiday meal or party. We have certain dishes we love, as do people who eat the standard American diet, and we depend upon these simple recipes for our “party fare.” These dishes are great, because they fill our need for tasty food and they give others an opportunity to try something good and wholesome. So, whether you’re hosting a party or just attending, prepare a couple of reliable dishes.
Strategy #2. Talk through the options. Face it. There will be some really tempting goodies available. It’s beneficial to talk through (especially if you have young children) what other foods might be “good” or “ok” choices. This helps prevent some of the “heartbreak” that can come when you’re presented with foods that you know aren’t the best for your health. You’ve already said “no” to them in advance and it won’t be as great of a struggle. You also know that, at the bare minimum, you’ll have your own dishes to enjoy.
Strategy #3. Have some “better” treats in mind. We use this strategy a lot when we’re attending an event where we have even less input on the foods available (like catered events or a child’s birthday party). We enjoy whatever wholesome options there might be, and we’ve strategized in advance that in place of the inevitable “sweets” that are available, we will treat ourselves to some dairy-free ice cream or wholesome, homemade baked goods after the event. We call this “trading up” with our children. Of course, for a holiday gathering, you can bring these healthier options to share. We usually make an apple crisp, and bring some non-dairy ice cream. Oftentimes, this is more popular than the traditional pumpkin pie!
Strategy #4. This may sound crazy, but eat ahead (or after)! This works great for parties or catered events where it isn’t appropriate to bring something to contribute, or you know there won’t be any healthy food options. It also works well for holiday meals and parties where you know your appetite for “less than best” foods may be stronger than you’d like. You might eat a whole meal, or just a large snack, to decrease your interest in eating. You can still participate in the event, but the eating isn’t the central activity. And, it’s quite okay to answer that you’re just not hungry if someone inquires why you’re not eating. Remember, you are at the event for the interaction with others, not just to satisfy your taste buds, so avoid the struggle by taking the edge off your hunger in advance.
Utilizing any, or all, of these tips can help you avoid overindulging in sweets and non-real food items during the holiday season. What strategies do you use to avoid the holiday diet crash? Leave a comment below and let us know what works best for you!
Kim Wilson has spent over 12 years working exclusively with whole foods to develop recipes that satisfy a variety of needs (for those just beginning to eat healthy to serious raw-foodies to those with extensive food allergies and health conditions like candida) – all in a tasty, enjoyable and affordable way. Her recipes don’t just avoid ingredients that contain gluten, but also a number of other foods that are problematic for many people (soy, dairy, eggs, sugar, yeast, animal products, etc.). Whereas most gluten-free products and recipes depend heavily upon refined ingredients and costly gums and starches, devoid of nutrition, fiber and flavor, her recipes are prepared exclusively with whole foods. So when you prepare gluten-free recipes in this way, not only will you be eating gluten-free and allergen-free, but you’ll be eating better! You can connect with Kim through her website, her recipe blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.
Candy image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons and Michael Seljos.
This post is part of Traditional Tuesdays