Oh, the holidays! In some ways, the stretch covering Halloween to New Year’s is one of the most joyful and celebrated times of the year. And we always celebrate with FOOD.
It’s no wonder that people always decide to start the new diet on Jan 1. Dodging unhealthy foods around the holidays can feel impossible.
The good news?
Healthy eating around the holidays can be so much easier than you think!
The surefire way to know you’re eating “on lifestyle” — because, let’s be real, nutrition is a lifestyle and not a diet — is to bring your own food.
Usually family meals are potluck style anyway, where everyone is assigned to bring something. Bring something you can eat. Even better? Bring something that will suffice as a whole meal for you.
This doesn’t just apply to meals.
Keep healthy snacks handy. Easy, no-refrigeration-necessary type items are super easy to stash in your travel bag or purse so you have something available if you don’t get quite enough to eat at a meal or need to bridge between mealtimes.
This could even be an opportunity to discuss healthy food with family members. They might be interested in jumping on board with you & your healthy choices.
Just Say No
Saying “no” can be soooo hard. Ugh.
But, you’ve got to do what’s best for you! And if that means you don’t eat some things that your family members do, so be it.
Don’t be persuaded into eating gluten when you know it tears up your stomach.
Avoid that counter of cakes and cookies when you know sugar gives you insane cravings for more sugar.
And politely decline when grandma tries to load you up with fried home cookin’ or baked goods that you know just aren’t on your menu.
People take food very personally, and feelings get involved when it comes to family meals. As long as you’re polite and respectful about turning down food, you have no reason to feel guilty. You can’t control the feelings of others. You can control what you put in your body.
Depending on your family dynamic, communicating about your dietary needs and preferences ahead of time can go a long way.
If your family knows you’re gluten free now, they can make an effort to consider you in what they cook. And they won’t be surprised when you turn down an old favorite because you “don’t eat that anymore”.
Understand your boundaries and which aspects of your health you are or aren’t comfortable talking about. And go from there!
It can also help to start with the family members you might be a little closer to. A cousin, aunt, or your mom. Build a support group of a few people to help you through healthy eating around the holidays. It’s much harder to do it alone.
You never know who you might inspire to join your health journey with you!