It can be extremely hard to make healthy choices throughout the Holidays! In this week’s guest blog The Nutrition Doula will share some simple tips to help you stay on track AND enjoy this holiday season. Alasen Zarndt is not just the Nutrition Doula, she is also my friend. I can tell you she is passionate about helping women fuel their bodies so they can feel their best.
As a health, wellness, and nutrition coach, Alasen specializes in coming alongside new mothers during their pregnancy and postpartum years. However, the philosophy of using real, everyday foods to care for yourself and your family is applicable throughout every stage of life!
3 Simple Tips for a Healthy Holiday
The Holiday Season is in full swing, and with all the craziness we often find that healthy eating is the last thing on our mind. It may have started around Halloween when the candy appeared, and you found that “just a couple of pieces” turned into a couple of bags. Then, as the days begin to get busier and Thanksgiving rolls around, we find that our green smoothies or lunch salads feel like a thing of the past. By the time we hit December, we find ourselves running on sugary lattes and holiday party leftovers.
Every year, we seem to go through a cycle where healthy eating slips a little, then slips a little more, until January where we find ourselves up 15 to 20 pounds and feeling awful. But what’s the alternative? Avoiding every holiday treat and favorite? Being the Debbie downer who sits there sadly eating a salad while everyone else enjoys grandma’s pumpkin pie? Can you even get into the holiday spirit if you’re on some diet?
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be some all-or-nothing deal. There are a few simple tricks that you can use to keep yourself on-track, full of good energy to get through all the holiday stress, and still allow you to enjoy the season.
Tip 1: Pregame with Veggies
Remember pregaming when you were in college? This is the healthy version.
When you know you have a hectic day ahead of you or a holiday event later in the day, you want to front-load as many veggies as you can into your diet. This means eat as many veggies as you can for breakfast (yes, veggies are a breakfast food), snacks, lunch, or whatever meals you have before you have to get out the door. Remember we need to eat 6-11 servings of veggies per day! So be generous with your portions and get as many in as you possibly can.
When you get most of your servings early in the day, you will balance out any more decadent choices you make later. You’ll also feel better overall as you go through the day since you’ll be operating on essential vitamins and nutrients that your body needs, especially when it is stressed out.
Tip 2: Choose Your Treats Consciously
What are your absolute favorite things about the holiday season? If you made a list, you may have some seasonal treats on there (Caramel Brulee Latte anyone?). Your favorite dessert, amazing cocktails, incredible appetizers; they all seem to be everywhere during the holidays. The key to conquering all of these “favorites” is to be a little more choosey.
Are you going to a party or event where you know there will be all sorts of temptations? This is when planning ahead is key. If you know you will be at an event where your favorite treats will be, think about which one is your absolute favorite. You want to decide this when you are full, so that it will be easier to decide (when you’re hungry everything sounds good).
Once you’ve decided, plan on having that treat at the event. When you have decided in advance on something that is truly special to you, it will be a more satisfying treat and it will be easier to ignore all the other options around you.
Tip 3: Bring a Healthy Option Along
Sometimes we can’t make healthy food choices during the holidays because the choices are few and far between. This is where bringing a healthy option along with you makes a huge difference. Whether it is an apple in your purse while you’re running errands or a salad for the company potluck, having a great choice with you can add up to a big difference over the season.
So, for any event or party where it is possible, offer to help out the host by bringing a dish. Make this dish a healthy option, preferably loaded with veggies.
This helps in two ways. First, it guarantees that you will have something healthy to eat while you are there. Second, the other guests often really appreciate having a healthier option too! We aren’t alone in wanting to make healthy decisions for ourselves over the holiday season, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly it is gobbled up. Not sure what to make? Check out some of my favorite recipes here!
Alasen is a fun-loving mom of two amazing girls. She’s been navigating the crazy world of starting a family, pregnancy, and new-mommy-hood for about 5 years now with plenty of successes and failures along the way.
During the third trimester of her last pregnancy, she was introduced to an amazing nutrition program and discovered just how powerful food can be. She became passionate about sharing this information with other new mothers and their families, so she enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
She became a Health, Wellness, and Nutrition Coach specializing in coming alongside new mothers during their pregnancy and postpartum years. She recognizes the enormous need for better postpartum support, and her work as a Nutrition Doula helps fill this gap one family at a time.
The Nutrition Doula philosophy is about using real, everyday foods to care for yourself and your family. She does not endorse quick-fixes, diets, meal replacements, or the like. She focuses on stress-free changes that can be small, but amount to big results for your overall health and wellness.