The morning chill is in the air and it’s starting to actually feel like fall and winter in California. Thanksgiving is a week away and once this takes off it’s a slippery slope into gingerbread, brie, egg nog, latkes, and peppermint mochas. I personally love seasonal treats, but I’m also not looking to fill myself to the brim to leave 2015 feeling sluggish and run down.
There’s this interesting build up and focus around food for the winter holidays. It’s cold so that comfort food sounds cozy as well as childhood memories of particular foods give us emotional attachment of “having to have it.”And then new years comes around and we can start fresh again and launch our health goals. But here’s the thing, no one said you have to leave every holiday party with a stomach ache. No one says you have to feel exhausted and heavier after the holidays. You don’t have to have a bag of holiday colored M&M’s, or seconds and thirds of each meal. I’ve never been a believer in “you have to finish your plate before you leave the dinner table.” That’s a lot of pressure, what if I don’t want to.
After a nutrition class I took in college, I began to really understand and embrace the idea of eating to feel full and good, versus mindless eating (but let’s be honest- I still love chips!) Here’s some tips to feel better through the holidays
- At holiday parties, fill your plate with a little bit of everything. Load up on the salads or vegetable heavy dishes but leave room for a little bit of stuffing or other savory dishes you love. There’s no need to deprive yourself but you also don’t need a full plate of stuffing (I know, it’s SO good!)
- Say no when you’re full. I mean in all actuality, do you really feel good after 5 cookies? If someone offers you cake and your full from the amazing meal you just ate, it’s ok to say “I’m full but that looks delicious.” When the say “just have a little”, it’s ok to say I can’t fit any more in my stomach. People have a weird thing with food and forcing it on others. If you don’t feel like it, don’t buy into it because you feel bad.
- Instead of looking at the “low fat” or “sugar free” options, instead go for the whole food ingredient approach (aka real ingredients).
- Making healthy options can be fun and still super delicious. Roasted brussel sprouts and squashes, sweat potatoes (without copious amounts of butter), amazing salads (think pomegranate, spinach, walnut!), grilled meats, just to name a few. Bring a healthy delicious dish to the party you attend and people will thank you!
- Continue activity through the holidays. When things get busy, fitness or time for ourselves seems to be the first to go. If you have to get up earlier to get in a walk, run, or other form of workout, do it. Your body and mind will thank you.
- More isn’t better: in food and in gifts. The holiday abundance is so focused on these two subjects that it makes me dread this time of year. Instead of gifts with friends maybe plan a hike or group yoga class. Plan to get pedicures or meet for coffee. Good conversation and sweat are some of the best gifts. Don’t forget that!
- Taking the focus off food and back on the people you love is a great way to look at the holidays.
What will my Thanksgiving day and plate look like?
Wake up, coffee, and run!
Breakfast: green smoothie, eggs, and pumpkin muffin
Late morning latte with cinnamon ( I love this while cooking)
Light lunch since we each Thanksgiving at 3pm: apple and almond butter, vegetables and hummus.
Thanksgiving meal: Roasted brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, spinach pomegranate salad, stuffing with cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and a glass of wine! I can’t wait! ( we’ll have turkey but I’m a vegetarian so I pass on the bird!)