It’s the start of the holiday season. From here on out our weeks are filled with fabulous events, company parties, celebrations and gatherings. Loads of reasons to celebrate…and to “fall off the wagon” from our health goals.
I am often asked by clients if I celebrate the holidays and what I do for celebrations. So here’s a quick list of tips that I use to keep my own holiday season happy, delicious AND yes, healthy! I hope you'll add your own in the comments below.
EAT INSPIRED TODAY HOLIDAY TIPS:
Like me, you might have some holiday plans over the next few weeks! Are you FREAKING out because you are trying to stay healthy or you too are Gluten-Free? (and/or Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Corn-Free, you get the idea)
Trust me, these Happy, Healthy Holiday Tips help me and my clients to ENJOY the holidays and to keep my own health condition (Celiac Disease) in check.
I’m here to share a few of my favorite tools and tips to fill our holidays with JOY. We each want to be able to attend the celebrations and social gatherings without fear, guilt and discomfort!
Let's make this a season where we feel satisfied, happy and healthy!
11 Secrets to Celebrating an Amazing, Happy & Healthy Holiday Season:
1. Get Adaptive & Creative -
Here is one of my favorite tools to Eat Inspired Today and every day – CHANGE OUR PERSPECTIVE! I see eating healthy not as a restrictive diet but instead as a way of life and an adaptive lifestyle. When we feel limited and restricted we also feel like rebelling - which results in cheating. When we create a maintainable, lasting approach to food we build the foundation for a lifetime of health and wellness and not a passing fad diet or temporary solution. So let’s get creative, flexible and adapt! Try a few of our favorite Hip, Simple, Fabulous™ lighter and healthier holiday recipes
2. Feed Ourselves with Friends & Family -
I often used to go to events thinking “yummy! what food will be there!”. Now, while I do enjoy a bite of food, I let my focus be on “which of my friends and family will be there!" At my Nutrition School, this concept of Primary Foods plays a BIG role. When we are not feeling satisfied in our relationships, career and other aspects of our lives, we often turn to food to feel complete. Sound familiar? I definitely used to find myself in this pattern during the holidays. Thankfully, using many of these tips, not anymore!
3. The Choice is Ours –
Let's keep our long-term goals in mind. Set a reminder on our phone or hang a photo on our mirror to remind us what we're working towards - whether it's healthy changes in our body, improved overall health or healing - it's much easier to stay on track when we're CLEAR on our goals and the end results!
4. Plan Ahead –
Don’t go to parties and events hungry! Have a healthy snack before we go so that we feel comfortable regardless of what’s available.
5. Offer to Help –
Bring our own Healthy and/or Gluten-Free option to share. Many vegetables and salads are naturally Gluten-Free and offer a great, simply delicious addition to your feast. Try our one of my Hip, Simple, Fabulous™ recipes, such as Maple Roasted Apples and Brussels, Champagne Tomato Basil Salad or Cranberry, Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Gratin - each one a great, simple addition to your feast, celebration or potluck.
6. Everyone Loves Dessert –
Bake a batch of Gluten-Free Brownies or Low-Glycemic Cookies to have on-hand during the holidays as friends and family drop by to visit. For gatherings - Bring an assortment of berries and yogurt for dipping or a batch of Gluten-Free Brownies or Cookies – French Meadow Bakery makes pre-made frozen cookie and brownie dough – find them in the frozen section at Whole Foods Market or Sprouts! Got a few minutes? Try my Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownie recipe or this heavenly Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bar recipe.
7. Find Creative Ways to Connect -
Holidays are about friends, family and connections – not just about food. Find ideas for centerpieces, place settings, crafts or games to share with everyone. For holiday-specific treats check out these ideas for non-food options - Bring a craft for the littler ones or a favorite family game or activity that everyone can enjoy together. Recruit school age kids to write names for place settings. Ask older kids to help assemble flowers or items for table decorations. These activities balance out the festivities and help to keep the focus on connecting and not just on eating :-)
8. Get Moving -
Build exercise into our holiday rituals. Our family enjoys a long walk on Thanksgiving. Some families run the Turkey Trot 5k. Others make a trip to dog park or the beach. It's important to find what works for us and make time for something physical! Make sure to schedule our movement during our day, just as we would any other important activity.
9. Cheers –
If we’re drinking beer, bring our favorite Gluten-Free beer brand and savor it! When we decide before the event how much we'd like to consume we're less likely to veer off track.
10. Recruit Help –
Hosting? There's no need to do it all! Everyone enjoys making a contribution to the holiday festivities – whether it’s big or small. It's easy to find ways to include kids, friends and family in our events. We may have a friend who loves wine, another who enjoys arranging flowers and the kids often like to make place settings and write names for the seating. Or get playful - make a list of ingredients and randomly assign each guest one ingredient. Their task is to bring a dish with that ingredient!
11. Find Our Cheerleaders -
We don’t have to make a big deal of what we are doing to other people, but often including our close friends, family and supporters helps to keep us accountable. Share your goals for this holiday season, When we find our biggest cheerleaders - whether family, friends or a Health Coach - these people encourage us to stick to healthy living and to stay on track.
YOUR TURN: What will be YOUR greatest goal this holiday season? What will be YOUR biggest challenge this holiday season?
I look forward to continuing this conversation. I’d love to hear your tips for keeping the holidays healthy! I invite you to share your feedback, comments, questions and recipe ideas in the comments below. Community, support and accountability makes this journey so much more enjoyable.
I look forward to hearing from you and our community does as well. Please stop by my Facebook page at Live Inspired Today with Clea and join our community. My favorite recipes, tips, tricks and Gluten-Free links can all be found here.
Here’s to an amazing, happy & healthy holiday season!
In Health & Gratitude,
P.S. I’m participating in the Whole Foods Market Clash of the Cooks competition. If you enjoy what you read here, please cast a vote for me by commenting on my recipe. I am so grateful for your support.
© Copyright Clea Shannon 2009-2012
Eat Inspired Today™ LLC
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