Staying healthy and on track during the holidays is never easy. It seems like from Halloween to New Years there is a constant stream of candy, pastries, and cookies at work, home, and the grocery store!
Here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate the tricky world of holiday parties and gifts of cookies:
1. It's not about the food.
Or if it is, find a way to make it not to be. Food is just an added side benefit of spending time with the people you love during the holidays. Rather than thinking about the food, focus your attention on showing gratitude and being mindful of your actions. Otherwise, carry on living (and eating) as you would otherwise.
Now, I get that not everyone likes spending time with their family, but rather than stress eating or comforting yourself with food, find something positive about spending time with them. Get to know a family member better, ask intentional questions, or offer to help in a way that you wouldn't normally (the dishes can often be done without anyone bothering you...just saying).
2. Stay present
Live in the moment. Learn more about yourself. Ignore the what ifs, the need to dos, and the shoulds and stay present. This helps with the first tip too. The more you are able to stay present and enjoy what is happening right now, the more you will be able to enjoy the company of your family. Don't think about what has transpired or is to come, just read a book, bake some cookies (for someone else of course!), get outside, or whatever else you enjoy doing.
3. Mind-body connection
This is really important and should be practiced in your daily life as much as possible! Combining body movement along with a positive mindset will set you up for positivity, success, and can help when it comes to making good choices around food. This can be practiced with any physical activity from weight lifting and yoga to running or walking. Whatever you like to do to move your body.
Getting solid in your mind-body connection can really help you with food because you'll not only understand when you are truly hungry (most of us are not good at that) and you'll know exactly what you are hungry for. The other thing this helps with is understanding how certain foods make us feel and avoiding the ones that do not make us feel our best.
4. Plan ahead
Meal planning and prepping is one of the best things you can do for yourself both during the holiday season and throughout the rest of the year. Keeping meals and snacks planned and stocked when you have a busy social and travel calendar can help you have more downtime to regroup as well as time to enjoy other things. This cuts the excuses for "falling off the wagon" due to lack of time or motivation.
A little bit of time invested up front (a couple of hours one day or shorter bits of time over more days) can save you lots of time and money in the end. You don't have to scramble to find something for dinner or end up eating out because you are too tired or have no food. If you are interested in doing your own meal prep, click here to learn more.
5. Eat your veggies
Just because it's the holidays does not mean that you get a pass on eating your veggies. In fact, you should be eating MORE veggies to help you stay on track. Vegetables are packed with essential nutrients and fiber which will keep you healthy and feeling full for longer so you don't get the 3pm munchies and eat all the cookies in the break room.
Add more veggies to your favorite dishes to increase both the nutrients and the volume. One of my favorite ways to do this is add spinach to my rice or spiralized zucchini to my pasta. Neither has a particularly strong taste so you almost don't even notice that it's there. You can also try adding a salad to your mid-day and evening meals. If you eat the salad first it allows your natural hunger cues to become clear more quickly (i.e. when you are full) because chewing a mouthful of salad takes longer than something like potatoes.
Now that you are armed with knowledge...go forth and spend quality time with your family and friends this holiday season! If you know someone that needs a little help tackling things this time of year, I'd love it if you shared this post with them!