Healthy Holiday Cooking and Mindful Indulging
Updated: Nov 16, 2022
The holiday season has arrived! For many, that means tempting treats and stress that comes along with them. As you may have realized, the more sweets that are around, the more sweets you want to eat (I like to call this a proximity craving).
I am here to tell you that you can enjoy the season all while not falling off the perceived health wagon. It takes some practice and being mindful of your choices. You do not have to go without all the fun and yum! Let’s talk about how you can indulge and have a low stress holiday.
Cooking is a staple for many of us during the holidays. It may be baking treats, trying new recipes or cooking your family's traditional holiday favorites. You can boost the nutrition in your holiday dishes, and baked goods by making healthy swaps.
Here are a few tips….
Swap oils such as canola or vegetable for healthier alternatives such as ghee, coconut, or avocado oils.
Use coconut milk instead of cream for easier digestion.
Use coconut sugar instead of white sugar for better blood sugar control.
Make the dishes yourself (like pie) to lower sugar and include less preservatives.
As Henry David Thoreau said, “He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise.” Here are some ways you can savor the flavors of the holidays and indulge, without overindulging:
Balance your eating
Rather than "saving your calories" for one big meal, eat small meals throughout the day to prepare for the larger holiday meal.
Is there a mix of starchy and non-starchy veggies on your plate? No veggies at all? Make sure you have variety on your plate with vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and slow-burning carbs. Learn more about adding variety to your plate here!
Slow it down
Stop and take a few deep breaths before you eat. This will get you into a rest and digest state while also helping your brain communicate with your gut to know if you are truly hungry, and when to stop when your body is satiated.
Use your five senses to truly appreciate your food. Pay attention to how the dish looks, how it smells, if you hear it crunch, the texture, the taste. Slowing down to savor what you are eating will give you much more pleasure and satisfaction as well as prevent overeating.
Are you eating the pie, cookie etc. because a family member made it and you feel obligated? Be clear you are eating because you are hungry and because the food is phenomenal, not just okay!
Holidays can be a source of stress for many of us. Having stress management strategies will help you move through December in a more relaxed state and will help you enjoy this time of year.
Try some of these stress management tips…
Take a moment to stop and breathe! Breathe in for a count of five, pause, and exhale for a count of five. This will help calm your nervous system.
Get in movement you love! Start the day with a 15 minute yoga sequence, go for a walk, do some squats in your bedroom, dance... whatever you like, just keep moving!
Do a short meditation each day. Even five minutes is helpful! Need some help getting started? Try an app like Insight Timer, Calm or Headspace.
For more stress management ideas and to understand how stress impacts your health click here.
Tis the season for cheer! You can have a healthy holiday season by putting a few of these tips into practice. Enjoy yourself all while honoring your health needs.
Ready to get a free call with me on your calendar to talk about your health goals? Book now and get yourself on track!