Your Holiday Survival Guide, Part 1: Food!

  Image: Gluten Free on a Shoestring

December has arrived! Along with holiday cheer, this time of year can often come with a lot of unnecessary stress.

I’m finding more and more of my patients are falling into the busyness trap of the holidays. Many are filling their days with frantic gift shopping, attending too many Christmas parties, and trying to take on house decorating and holiday baking single-handedly.

In fact, the majority of women I work with show signs of burn out by the time New Year’s rolls around, which is tragic! The holidays are intended to be a rejuvenating time, full of great food, fun parties, lots of visiting, and gratitude for another year come and gone.

If this is all hitting close to home, it might be time for you to take December back. To help you, I’ve created a 5-part holiday survival guide to help you transform your winter break into a truly festive and joyous experience.

Today we’ll start with one of my favourite topics: food!

Food for the Holidays

This could be where I load you up with healthy alternatives to classic holiday treats. (I do, in fact, have some go-to recipes that I make every year to help me indulge a little without overdoing it. I’ve included them below.)

However, this year I’m taking a different approach.

Health, to me, is about balance. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but depriving yourself of sweet treats and delicious meals during a month of parties and feasting doesn’t sound very balanced.

Strictly restrictive food habits can be just as detrimental to our overall well-being as eating poorly, and depriving yourself over the holidays may just add to the stress that’s already been mounting.

Instead, here’s my advice: enjoy yourself! Some examples include:

  • Designate a few events as carefree zones, and eat what appeals to you.
  • Make some healthy treats and meals ahead of time, but don’t be afraid to mix them up with more traditional fare.
  • Keep up a simple exercise routine but worry a little less about your meals for the rest of the month.

Let yourself be human to take the pressure off, and you’ll be amazed by how you start to self-regulate. Sometimes the upset stomach that follows a night of too many sugary snacks is actually the most effective teacher, when it comes to eating healthy.

An easy plan that you’re not afraid to deviate from may be the best way to ensure a happier holiday. So set your guidelines, spend an hour or two in the kitchen this weekend, and then eat up!


Happier Holiday Recipes

Party Appetizer: Vegan Potato, Pepper & Olive Mini Tarts

Image: The Food Network

Meal Entrée: Baked Acorn Squash Bowl

Image: Making Thyme for Health

Dessert: Chewy Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men

Image: Gluten Free on a Shoestring