If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’re probably familiar with my credo for healthy eating: “Eat what God made, and eat it the way He made it.” Luckily, this can actually be fairly easy during the holidays. The holiday season after all, is one of tradition, which means, many families who don’t often prepare meals throughout the year will actually cook at home this time of year. Even this is almost always healthier than grabbing fast food on the go. But you can take it a step further, by making sure that you prepare the majority of the food yourself, without resorting to processed, boxed foods. For example, making cakes, brownies, cookies, or simple stuffing is almost as easy from scratch as it is from a box – and much healthier!Avoid all of the preservatives and artificial ingredients, and prepare your own holiday meals this year….
If you’re used to cooking from scratch, but you want to make sure you’re preparing good, healthy things for your loved ones this holiday season, the next step would be to choose only all-natural and/or organic ingredients. If you know how and where to shop for these items, they can be surprisingly affordable….
Tip #2: Moderation Is Key
This may be the most difficult tip for some people, as it definitely requires some self-control and discipline, but hey, we’re all adults here, right? Let’s get real and take responsibility for our own health and well-being. While whole, natural foods are certainly best for you in a nutritional sense, many holiday foods still contain a lot of calories…. Getting your calories from a clean source like organic butter or cream, grass-fed lamb, or naturally raised and cured ham, is certainly better than many of the alternatives. But if you consume 4,000 calories and don’t burn them all off…, you’re still going to gain weight.
So what is the answer to healthy holiday eating? …Just exercise some discipline and don’t pig out (as my mom would say)! Make sure your holiday meal contains lots of vegetables, and include plenty of them on your plate. Eat vegetables (generally lower in calories) first, then move on to starchy and meaty items. Pace yourself, and listen to your body. Take a small helping of everything first, eat slowly, and then wait 10 minutes and see if you feel full before eating more. Not only will you eat fewer calories, but you may even end up enjoying your food more….
Tip #3:Forgive Yourself & Give Thanks
In some cultures, it is thought that enjoying your food actually makes it healthier for you – and I am somewhat inclined to agree. Sometimes I wonder just how much of our dis-ease as a nation is due to the fact that we try to modify and change our food so much, rather than just enjoying it….
This holiday season, instead of focusing so much on what you should not eat, why not look at your food from a positive point of view? Consider the many, many good foods that are available to you (Tip #1), try small portions of a wide variety of them (Tip #2), and focus on how much you enjoy them. Give thanks for all of the delicious foods that you eat this holiday and on a daily basis. Give thanks for the body that you are taking such good care of by feeding it delicious, nourishing foods. Give thanks for your sense of taste that allows you to enjoy them. And if you eat a few things that probably aren’t so good for you, have the grace to give yourself a break. After all, it’s also the season of forgiveness!