It’s that time of the year again! The holidays are here and our schedule is filled with family events, holiday parties, food, cocktails, long to-do lists and stress.
Whether you’re tempted by grandma’s homemade pie at your family get-together, struggling to keep your cocktail intake in check at parties, or wondering what to eat if you’re traveling and on the go.
These healthy hacks will help you make it work in the real world when temptation is everywhere.
We are NOT talking about deprivation during the holidays. Instead, I want to give you approachable ideas to help you enjoy the sweetness in life without counting calories. That’s right… I don’t count calories. I love my healthy relationship with food and don’t stress calories because I know I’m eating real, healthy food. I discovered what works for me and it’s important to discover what works for your own beautiful self.
Don’t worry though, that beautiful, black party dress or the bathing suit you bought for your holiday vacation will still fit.
Below are my best tips for maintaining your weight, de- bloating after meals and handling stress this holiday season. Not sure what to take for a dazzling dish? Are you questioning which healthy (and delish) meals to make? No worries…I’ve got you covered. I’m including one of my favorite recipes. Want some more ideas? Check out my Healthy Holiday Guide here: http://kimwilson.me/healthyholiday/
The guide also includes a 4-day Post-Holiday Healthy Reset Plan with meals and tips to help you get back on track after a night (or few) of indulgence.
I totally understand how the holidays can be for many. I used to have a tough time getting through the holiday season. I constantly had a full plate of food in front of me just to handle the stress. I’d find myself eating too many mashed potatoes and too much pumpkin pie.
I was always tired and bloated after indulging at holiday dinners or cocktail parties, and let’s not even mention the weight gain. It really put a damper on what should have been a time to celebrate and have fun.
It wasn’t until years later that I discovered simple strategies to make it through the holiday season without the stress eating and inevitable tummy troubles and extra pounds.
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR? HAVE YOU SAID TO YOURSELF… “THIS MEAL WILL BE DIFFERENT” OR “AT THIS PARTY I WILL NOT EAT__________.”
But, it happened anyway, and then you woke up the next day with a raging headache and bags under your eyes. Maybe you’re like me and feel all of the above when you try just a teeny, weeny bite of that chocolate cake (hello, wheat belly… ugh).
I’ve learned (through a lot of trial and error) that the holidays don’t have to be a rollercoaster of bingeing on treats and regretting it the next day. I’ve learned how to maintain my health (and my waistline) while still having a blast during this time of celebration
I became a health coach because I love helping others to do the same thing. I want you to have real strategies and solutions for life that still allow you to have fun.
As a health coach, I educate and empower others how to slow down when they eat, be mindful of stress and understand what foods to put on their plate to nourish their body.
Below are some tips that will take the worry out of the parties and the stressful holidays so you can sit back and enjoy the season.
This is NOT about depriving yourself of all the treats and special meals. I’m giving you a plan of action that will allow you to enjoy that small piece of pumpkin pie or chocolate cake without beating yourself up or feeling bloated the following day.
WHEN DO YOU GET TEMPTED?
Before we jump into my tips and strategies for staying healthy during the holidays, it’s important to take a look at your triggers and understand when you feel tempted to overdo it with food (and alcohol).
Take note of the situations that you may be in this holiday season and bring awareness to your temptations. I suggest exercising mindfulness about how you are feelings as well.
Here are some examples:
● Attending a cocktail party or a wedding
● The cake at the office party makes your mouth water
● When you’re watching TV
● Cookies and chocolate being delivered to the house for the holidays
● Bringing treats to your kid’s school
● Preparing food for a party you’re throwing
● Family holiday parties
● Cocktail parties with drinks and tons of appetizers
● Girl’s Night Out holiday festivities
● Feeling overwhelmed and stressed while shopping
● Interactions with stressful family members
These tips are separated into 3 sections to give you strategies for before, during and after your holiday parties and meals.
TIP #1: PLAN AHEAD
Make SURE TO PLAN before you attend a gathering or party. Find out what will be served. If possible, ask the host what kinds of foods and drinks will be served so you’ll know ahead of time how to prepare.
Bring a dish to your holiday dinner:
Don’t be afraid to call ahead and offer to bring a healthier plate to share with the other guests. This isn’t being rude. I actually prefer to ask ahead of time so the hostess knows I am thinking of them, grateful for the invite and that I want to help contribute. It’s also taking care of yourself so you can spend your energy on having a good time and not worrying about how you’ll feel after you eat.
Pack a healthy snack:
Throw a healthy protein bar or bag of nuts in your bag so you’ll have something to snack on besides the chips and dip.
Don’t show up hungry:
Always eat at least a small meal before you go to a dinner or party. If you show up starving you’ll be likely to wolf down everything in sight. Try one of the following protein-rich mini meals to tide you over and keep you from feasting on sugar and unhealthy treats.
MY FAVORITE MINI MEALS ARE:
- A healthy protein like turkey slices with avocado
- Greek or non-dairy yogurt with nuts (I love coconut yogurt)
- A smoothie
- A cup of soup
- A healthy protein bar
- Gluten-free crackers and veggies with hummus
- Any lean protein (chicken, turkey, bison, fish) and vegetables
WHILE YOU’RE THERE:
TIP #2: HYDRATE
If you’re feeling super hungry at an event, focus on drinking water before you go for that plate of food. Sometimes that hunger is actually a sign of thirst. If you’re finding yourself craving sugar and salt, your body is likely depleted in minerals. Order a tall glass of water with lemon while you’re out to replenish.
Are you toasting the holiday with a glass of bubbly or red wine? Make sure to drink a glass of water before and after your cocktail.
Another awesome option is to make a healthy vitamin water, and drink it both before you head out AND the morning after.
Vitamin Water Recipe:
8 ounces coconut water
1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar 2 inch piece of ginger
juice from one lemon
Stir or shake the ingredients to combine, and sip. The raw apple cider vinegar will enhance your digestive enzymes and balance PH, while the coconut water will mineralize your body. As you are drinking your vitamin water, take 5 deep breaths. Deep breathing calms your nervous system and reduces stress levels naturally.
TIP #3 – SAY NO (MOST OF THE TIME)
The key to staying healthy and feeling good (both physically and mentally) during the holidays is to avoid eating everything in sight.
We’re all human. There’s no way we’re going to make it through an entire month of parties and holiday treats saying NO every single time. Nor do we want to. That kind of extreme mentality is what leaves us feeling emotionally deprived and ready to go home after the party and overeat. The last thing we want is to get so frustrated with deprivation that we show up to a party and say screw it, I’m eating everything!
Practice the 80/20 rule:
Focus on eating healthy, nourishing foods 80% of the time. This gives you some leeway to indulge the other 20% of the time without feeling guilty.
For me, I enjoy foods but watch things that I know will make me feel worse. Things like gluten and dairy, fried foods and sugar. Don’t get me wrong, I love things like cheese and wine. I enjoy good hearty meals. If possible, I opt for gluten free crackers, goat or sheep cheese (easier on the digestive system), veggies and hummus and dark chocolate bark. One of my favorite recipes: http://kimwilson.me/dark-chocolate-coconut-bark-2/
It’s important that you discover what foods work for you and which ones don’t. If you do indulge, just be mindful that you may have some changes in mood and how you feel afterwards and possibly days to follow. It’s a natural response and will pass as long as you keep it clean the majority of the time.
TIP #4 – TAKE A TASTE
When you do decide to have the slice of pie or helping of mom’s stuffing, focus on savoring the food instead of inhaling it. Moderation and paying attention to portion sizes go a long way to keeping us healthy and feeling good.
If this relationship with food is something that you struggle with (I know I have), I recommend the work of Geneen Roth. She’s shown others that eating isn’t about pulling a chair up to the fridge.
Check in with yourself before you eat:
Take a few moments to turn inward before you start eating. Ask yourself: Have I filled myself up with self-care today? Have I slowed down and addressed my emotions? If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed, take a few moments to do some deep breathing. Excuse yourself to the restroom if you need to step away.
Taking the time to touch base with your body and slowing down will help prevent overeating.
Journaling can be helpful as well. Jotting down how you’re feeling, what’s going on in your world and what may be making you feel this way.
Ask about healthy options:
Don’t be afraid to talk with the party host, the waiter or your co-workers about healthy foods for your holiday events.
We might feel nervous about speaking up – what will people think? But we’re not being a pain. We’re being mindful of taking care of ourselves and setting the stage for success.
With the rise of food sensitivities and allergies (that’s a whole other topic I could go on about), most restaurants are accommodating and will make modifications.
Slow down & enjoy your food:
If you actually want to have a taste of something, then do it! Slow down and enjoy the decadent flavor of that chocolate cake or the creamy deliciousness of those mashed potatoes. Taste the food you’re eating and don’t feel guilty.
Too often, we are either so hungry, rushed or stressed and we shovel food into our mouths. Not only is this not good for your digestive system, but it also doesn’t allow the ability to savor the deliciousness of the meal. Being a foodie, I love the different tastes and combination of flavors. Food is meant to be enjoyed and provides nourishment. Not meant to be punishment or a rushed event. Creating a healthy relationship with food and enjoying it is one step towards living a healthier, more nourished life.
Savor the moment:
Remember that a truly healthy, happy holiday is about being present in the moment.
As you’re celebrating, practice mindfulness:
I deserve to really enjoy my life.
I deserve to step away from a stressful situation to focus on myself for 5 minutes. I deserve to enjoy celebrating in the company of my friends and family.
It’s not only about the plate of food. Take a taste of life too. The food is a reflection of your life and what is happening inside and around you. Savor your life.
AFTER THE FACT:
TIP #5 – DE-BLOAT & RESET
Sometimes, regardless of our best intentions, we can still feel bloated, tired, and less-than-amazing once the party’s over.
It’s important to have some healthy tricks in the toolbox to nip those gross symptoms in the bud and get us back on track to feeling great. We want to focus on flushing toxins out of our bodies to reduce the acidic waste that leads to bloating and fatigue.
Here are my 3 favorite ways to de-bloat and reset the day after.
1. MY MORNING LEMON ELIXIR
Take 2 cups of room temperature water, and add the juice from 1/2 a lemon, a pinch of cayenne (optional), and 1 teaspoon of raw honey or a couple drops of stevia (use stevia if you are on a yeast cleansing nutrition plan).
2. MY EVENING ALKALIZING CHLOROPHYLL DRINK
Add 1 tablespoon of chlorophyll to 12 ounces of water with the juice of one lemon and drink.
Note: you can buy chlorophyll at any natural food store, Whole Foods, or on Amazon.
3. MOVE YOUR BODY
Exercise is one of the best ways to cleanse your body and remove toxins. Try taking a brisk walk, hitting the gym, or going to your favorite zumba class. Sweating helps the body to eliminate toxins through the skin. Be sure to shower and scrub when you’re done.
IF YOU REALLY WANT TO FULLY REJUVENATE & FEEL AMAZING, I RECOMMEND A POST-HOLIDAY CLEANSE OR RESET. TO LEARN MORE, I WELCOME YOU TO MESSAGE ME OR CHECK OUT MY NOURISHED IN THE NEW YEAR PROGRAM.
IF YOU JUST WANT SOME HEALTHY RECIPES EACH MONTH, A FUN COMMUNITY AND HEALTH TIPS, I’M KICKING OFF MY COOKING CLUB IN JANUARY. TO LEARN MORE:
Caprese Holiday Wreath
1 ½ cups balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons local, raw honey
12 ounces fresh cherry tomatoes
10 ounces small mozzarella bites (or a cheese of your choice)
Olive oil (about 2-3 tablespoons total)
4 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend
Fresh basil, shredded (for garnish)
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
Glaze: I often pick up infused balsamic and oils from a local store. This is an option for those who prefer to do so as well or don’t want to make their own.
If you choose to make your own glaze, combine the balsamic vinegar and honey in a small sauce pan. Cook (while continuously stirring) on low heat for approximately 5 minutes. Bring to a boil and reduce again. Simmer for 8 minutes. The syrup will thicken.
Salad: On a round serving dish, place a bowl in the center. In a circle pattern, arrange the tomatoes and cheese as you so desire. Some people choose to use small wooden skewers or lay them loosely. Drizzle with oil, balsamic glaze, herbs, salt and pepper. Place the remaining glaze in the center of the wreath. Garnish with shredded or whole basil leaves.