5 Ways To Maintain Healthy Eating During The Holidays

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Maybe you’ve been doing really well with your healthy eating for a while but now the holidays are here. Or you might be like me…have a super sensitive IBS belly so eating foods out of the ordinary make your insides miserable for days. What do we do? Eat salad and grumble OR throw all sensibility out the window and have the entire pumpkin pie? Nah. There’s a place in the middle, yo! Just takes a little thought. Here’s how…

1- Eat & Move

If you skip breakfast and lunch to “save calories” your plan will totally backfire. You’ll be famished by the time dinner begins and you’ll eat all the food. Instead…eat a healthy breakfast and a light lunch or snack and you’ll be less likely to devour the entire pan of stuffing. And for the IBS folks, eating a typical breakfast will help keep things as normal as possible.

Try to get a workout in before the big meal too. It’ll work up a good appetite and get the blood flowing for better digestion. It’ll also help you feel like the healthy person you are, grounded, and in control…you’ll be less likely to overdo it.

2- Something you can count on

When you’re heading to someone else’s house for the big holiday meal there will be plenty to eat but likely laden with butter, sugar, and other delicious (yet derailing and IBS-unfriendly) ingredients. Here’s what I do: I contribute a healthy dish so I have something to count on. I load up my plate with my own delicious item and supplement with small amounts of scrumptious sides so I get to enjoy the decadent flavors without overdoing it. Here are some festive, uber-healthy, belly-friendly, recipe ideas to bring along this holiday:

Wild Rice Pecan Stuffing

Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

Kale Salad (I use spinach instead) With B-Nut Squash

Sweet Potato Crusted Spinach Quiche

Roasted Brussels with Lentil-Quinoa Pilaf

3- Be a one-plate wonder

When you’re scooping various dishes onto your plate don’t be all skimpy thinking you can always go back for more. Set up your plate just once…a hearty portion of your own dish (see step 2 if you missed it), veggies most, and a few decadent favorites. Once you’ve got your plate filled, that’s it! No seconds. Now savor, savor, savor, chew, go slooow, taste, smell, enjoy the heck out of the bounty you have! If you woof it all down in 5 minutes your brain won’t even register what just happened and you’ll be back to the buffet for more. Plus, eating slowly, and not over-eating, gives your digestion system a little help and reduces bloating, gas, and other awful things.

4- Make yourself useful

When you’re done with your satisfyingly perfect plate get up from the table, and move! Figure out how to be helpful to your host. Start clearing the table, wrap up leftovers, wash the dishes, play with the kids, take the dog for a walk. Stepping away from the table will help prevent you from picking at the leftovers and a little movement helps with digestion.

5- Enjoyyyyy!

I said it before and I’ll say it again, slow down and enjoy what you’re eating! Experience the smells, flavors, and textures. Really think about what’s in front of you, feel grateful for what you have and the people around you…savor the entire experience! If there’s something you really love (for me, it’s pumpkin pie…I wait the entire year for it!) don’t restrict yourself (there’s no fun in that!) have a small slice and then really enjoy it. And don’t, not for one second, feel an ounce of guilt about it. Life is meant to be shared and enjoyed so go on and enjoy it!

PS. For my IBS friends…sipping a cup of tea an hour or so after a rich meal is really helpful for soothing my digestion. Some of my favorites are: peppermint, ginger, or licorice root, or give Traditional Medicinals Eater’s Digest a try.

Have a delightful, healthy, and wonderful holiday season! Slow down. Enjoy! xo

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