The holidays are upon us and while gatherings with family and friends may look a little different for some of us this year, the stress and anxiety of eating during this time has remained the same for many. If you feel that it’s a challenge to honor your health in the winter months, here are a few tips to help you feel more at peace and able to enjoy the season.
Have regular meals and snacks.
Many of us are guilty of skipping meals leading up to the holiday parties or feasts. Skipping meals can lower your blood glucose and increase cravings, which often makes us unable to listen to our body’s fullness cues when we finally sit down to eat – which in turn leads to feeling uncomfortably full and in desperate need of a post-meal nap. During the holiday season, aim to include consistent meals and snacks every 3-4 hours to prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low between meals. This will leave you feeling less ravenous when you go into a special meal and more likely to prevent the overstuffed food coma as well.
Allow yourself to have the foods you enjoy
You may be looking forward to special dishes or desserts that you don’t typically have any other time of the year and rightfully so! Keep in mind this holiday season, that you don’t have to restrict yourself by opting to skip your grandma’s famous mac and cheese for the sake of your health goals. In fact, avoiding these foods can result in increased cravings for them. Instead of going without this year, have yourself a serving of whatever sounds good to you and opt to enjoy it intentionally and mindfully, paying attention to the tastes, textures, and smells that you may only get to experience once a year.
Balance your holiday plate.
Your body needs a variety of foods and nutrients, even during the holiday season. Aim to balance your plate as you normally would with a mixture of carbohydrates, proteins, and produce – while being sure to make room for those “fun foods” that you enjoy. Getting a balance of these nutrients will allow you to feel more satisfied from your meal and can help reduce uncontrollable cravings around holiday treats.
Be gentle with yourself.
When you feel like you “over did it” on the holiday sweets, resist the temptation to go on a crash diet or juice cleanse when the new year arrives. Cycling through periods of intense dieting followed by rebelling against said restrictions over time can increase stress on the body and decrease metabolism. Instead, give yourself some grace and permission to move forward without punishing yourself. What could you do to honor your health at the next meal? Perhaps that looks like adding some produce to your plate, having an additional glass of water to stay hydrated, or going for an after-dinner walk in your neighborhood to look at Christmas lights while incorporating some gentle movement. Regardless of what this looks like for you – you deserve to enjoy your holidays without the fear of a crash diet around the corner.