finding a balance with holiday treats

With Christmas being only three ( !!! ) days away, there are going to be lots of tempting treats and holiday foods that are hard to say ‘no’ to. I used to be that person who struggled with overindulging on holiday treats and I always found myself eating WAY too many goodies on a regular basis.

I would have big breakfasts, snack on cookies ( shortbreads! ) and treats during the day, eat lunch and dinner, appetizers and occasionally dessert – I’m not really much of a dessert person to be honest, but gimme alllll of the apps. I always ended the day feeling bloated, overly full and completely exhausted. I wasn’t feeding my body what it needed, rather I was stuffing it full of things that I thought I had to have because they were there.

Allowing yourself to indulge a bit because duh Christmas goodies are too good to completely pass up, but still maintain some sort of healthy balance is a hard thing to navigate.

Now that I am gluten intolerant, it’s easier to maintain balance during the holidays because I am unable to eat a lot of the treats that are around at potlucks, holiday parties and dinners, but finding that perfect balance will always be a struggle no matter what our food lifestyle is.

That being said, there are ways in which we can all try to maintain a sort of regular balance with our food choices over the holidays.

/ be mindful of meal times:

There’s no reason to completely throw off our bodies during the holidays. It’s important to try to stick to the same sort of eating schedule that we follow during regular days because it will help our bodies to recognize when we’re hungry and when we’re just craving a treat. Parties can be at weird times during the holidays, so if a dinner party begins at 7pm and you usually eat dinner two hours earlier, make sure you have a little something at your regular time so that your body isn’t completely thrown off at the dinner party. This will help you to avoid overindulging because you won’t feel starving after waiting so long to eat.

/ be mindful of the types of food you’re choosing:

Chances are there’s going to be some sort of fruit or veggie tray around among all of the cookies, pastries, greasy finger foods and sugary drinks. By filling your plate with fruits and veggies and taking a few of the heavier foods, you’ll feel better at the end of the night. Plus this way you’re not completely restricting yourself from eating the goodies, you’re just being smarter about the choices you’re making.

/ listen to your body:

If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re not hungry, don’t. Just because everyone is standing around eating lots of treats doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to stuff your face with it too. If you’re not hungry, feel free to pass on the extra goodies. On the other hand, if you’re hungry, make sure that you do eat. Just keep in mind the choices you’re making. By eating three cookies you will feel full, but you’ll end up hungry a short while later. If you choose some veggies and cheese, you’ll be more satisfied and stay fuller for a longer period of time.

/ bring a healthy-ish dish or two:

By bringing your own dish to a dinner party or a potluck, you can choose something healthier, something that you know you will enjoy and you don’t have to feel guilty filling up on it! This is one of my favourite things to do. I like bringing GF corn chips and salsa, or cheese and GF crackers because it’s something that is healthier than deep fried treats or sugar pastries, but isn’t super healthy all at the same time. When all else fails, a fruit or veggie tray is always good to bring too.

/ eat before showing up:

This is another one of my favourite ways to make sure that I don’t overindulge at parties or potlucks. By eating a healthy meal before attending the get-together, it ensures that I won’t overeat while there. I make sure that I leave some room for a bite or two while out, but I like to feel satisfied before attending. This is also a good tip if you have any food allergies or intolerances – that way your food choices don’t have to feel like a burden on your host or other guests.

/ don’t stop your workout routine just because it’s the holidays:

One super easy way to balance out the holiday treats is to continue your workout routine even though it’s the holidays. I feel like I’m being a total hypocrite right now… Because I’ve been sick lately, I haven’t been very active at all but I plan on getting back into some sort of moderate fitness routine ASAP and continuing it through the rest of the holidays. If you completely slack off and eat all of the holiday treats, you’re going to struggle come the end of the holidays, but if you are mindful of your fitness routine and making healthier choices with food, the holidays shouldn’t completely throw you off.

/ focus on what the holidays are really about:

While pastries, sugary drinks, turkey dinners and deep fried appetizers are obviously delicious aspect of the holidays, they aren’t the only thing. Spending time with friends and family, engaging in holiday traditions and unwinding is what the holidays are really about. The treats are just an added bonus.

Make sure you are taking time for you during the holidays & try to make healthy choices but don’t beat yourself up if you slip up once or twice. There’s always tomorrow to get back on track.

I’m off to a potluck tonight… to fill up on grapes and carrots and have a meatball or two.

x JE


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