Hectic Holidays… Healthy Holidays

Are you busy?  Is everyone you know busy?  We live most days resigned to stress and endless time crunches.  For many of us, holiday time ramps up the stress to even higher levels as we gather together for numerous events with friends, family, and co-workers.

Some days it is all we can do to just to meet the daily obligations of life and we don’t have energy left to also make allowances for healthy food choices and prep.  Piling on guilt or unrealistic expectations surrounding food choices over the holidays can lead to increased feelings of discouragement.

As we realistically look at the holiday celebrations and challenges facing us, we can make little changes in our approach to food this season!  Each journey toward health is personal.   Healthy food choices are made one choice at a time.  Small choices add up over time. Positive self-affirmations and limitless patience can also transform your approach to healthy food choices.

  • Re-evaluate food expectations. Consider introducing just one healthy recipe into your yearly holiday dinner. If that may cause a mini-revolt among your relatives and friends, then consider just introducing one healthy ingredient like olive oil in place of a less healthy ingredient like butter, in just one dish. Bring a platter of fresh chopped veggies with a delicious dip to your next pot-luck, instead of a sugar-laden, over-processed dessert. If you must bring a dessert, consider a delicious dessert with ingredients that are minimally processed.
  • Place a plate of fresh cut fruits and veggies with dip on the kitchen counter while preparing large meals. Small bites of nourishing foods can satiate your appetite and you will be less tempted to overeat when the main meal is finally ready.
  • Invite your friends and family members into the kitchen while you are preparing your holiday meals. Sharing food prep can be a wonderful time to lighten the load and enjoy shared company. Consider approaching dinnertime with a more free-flowing expectation that dinner will be served when it’s ready – whatever time that may be.
  • Create a peaceful ambiance in your kitchen. Many hours are spent in the kitchen during the holidays. Simmering spices on low during food prep is calming. Burning a candle or beautiful incense burner while cleaning up and washing dishes can soothe those tired nerves.
  • Evaluate your kitchen tools. Consider investing in a good set of knives if you will be doing a lot of food prep. Numerous kitchen tools like a mandolin slicer or rice cooker can make your life easier and save precious time.

Have compassion on yourself this holiday season as you navigate through the challenges and celebrate those healthy choices!