It's never too early to get prepared for the holidays! By this I mean our mindset when it comes to healthy eating and healthy enjoyment of beautiful occasions to celebrate. Here is an updated list of my top tips for not just surviving - but thriving through the holidays and keeping the table full of nutrient-rich foods!
12 Tips for Thriving Through the Holidays
1. Consider donating your Christmas dinner funds to a greater cause! Feed a family at The Mustard Seed and choose to budget your meal and gifts a little wiser this season.
2. To avoid overeating before the meal starts, choose a small snack plate and make a ritual out of even snacking: sit down, away from the serving plates, and enjoy your snack mindfully.
3. Ensure there are three different types of vegetables or more on the table for variety and satiety.
4. Give and ask for experience-style gifts or those related to a treasured hobby rather than food items.
5. Anticipate that some "trendy" recipes are actually pretty high in calories. Be mindful of both high nutrient/high calorie foods, and low nutrient/high calorie foods and their impact on your total energy intake.
6. Approach your meals considering them a "delicacy", eating mindfully and with pleasure. Avoid yielding to "gluttony" or stuffing your poor stomach too full, which can lead to heartburn, blood sugar spikes and crashes, and further overeating.
7. Enjoy the scents, sounds, and memories of the holiday season, not just the tastes! Get outside with your family and enjoy the snow and scenery, go to Christmas concerts to hear carolling, and look back on past Christmases to commemorate or recreate your favourite ways to celebrate.
8. Choose GREEN! Green leafies on your plate, greener earth-friendly plant-based alternatives, and more local produce and products to help protect the planet. Stretch yourself even more to try a zero-waste Christmas!
9. Learn how to politely refuse. Often we attach personal feelings to food and that others are working hard to prepare food for us, we feel obligated to finish our plates or try everything. A simple "no thank-you" should suffice - if not, explain that your Dietitian is encouraging you to stop when you're full! :)
10. Plan before you go! When going out to parties or functions, eat a healthy snack (vegetables to fill you up!) and ask if you can bring a dish like a festive salad or fruit bowl. Set your intentions ahead of time - is this an occasion to indulge or keep to your weekly health goals?
11. Enjoy your bigger dinners with friends and family you wouldn't typically spend time with. You never know who is going through a rough time with family, or whose holiday you can rescue with a delicious meal and good company!
12. Have a grateful heart! A cup that thinks it is half full is less likely to want more than a cup that thinks it is half empty. Take time to be openly thankful for your relationships, and that your basic needs for food, shelter, and company are met.
Be blessed! Have a wonderful (leading up to) Christmas season!