Hey Angels and Alphas,
We all know holidays can be a challenging time in terms of nutrition for many reasons – the family dynamics, the stress, the travel, the holiday meals, and so much more.
And hear me out – holiday food is very special and delicious. But once the holidays are over, everyone is rushing into the gym to try to lose the holiday weight. And that’s because, along with all the delicious cookie recipes, family dinners, and cocktail parties, there’s an entire diet culture messaging that’s declaring you “bad” for enjoying a few holiday treats.
We’re here to say: enough of that. Here are our tips for how you can enjoy holiday meals with as little of the nonsensical diet culture influences as humanly possible.
#1 ALWAYS EAT CONSISTENTLY
One of the biggest gifts you can give your body during the holidays is to eat consistently. No more of the “starving yourself to save up calories” nonsense. This is a recipe for disaster – you will end up overeating and racking up countless more calories on top because you’ll feel hungry, then guilty and shameful for eating, and then hungry again.
Providing your body with a sustained source of energy is pretty crucial for keeping your energy levels up and avoiding blood sugar crashes that can end up resulting in the worst holiday “hanger.”
Make it a point to just have breakfast every day, bring some snacks if you’re out, and keep your blood sugar levels steady via consistent meals.
#2 HYDRATE WELL
This one sounds simple enough but drinking enough fluids (and by that we don’t mean cocktails) is often overlooked among all of our busy and irregular schedules. Not drinking enough fluids can lead to bloating, fatigue, constipation, headaches, and more. All of these can pretty much factor into food choices and make holiday meals even more complicated. That’s why you should try to aim for at least 2 liters of water a day. You can carry around a reusable water bottle if you’re going to be on the go all day.
#3 FOOD NEUTRALITY
Diet culture will run rampant during the holidays, with mixed messages like indulging in all the holiday foods, trying to work them off with exercise, or making unsatisfying swaps for favorite treats. And, along with that, all the “good” and “bad” thinking. It’s exhausting.
Quieting all the diet culture noise this time of the year is hard work, and one thing that can help you is the concept of food neutrality. Putting all holiday meals on a neutral playing field – with cake and kale getting the same score – is the best way to go. Doing this can help take all the power away from certain holiday foods that you may have previously restricted and later binged on. The concept of food neutrality will make it easy to enjoy the holiday dinner table without any stress.
#4 FIBER, FAT, and PROTEIN
Like we established, eating regular meals is very important. And what’s in those meals also matters. There are certain nutrients that can help make these meals much more satisfying and satiating and provide you with more sustained energy. Fiber, protein, and fat all work to slow down digestion.
Getting hungry shortly after a meal will sort of defeat the purpose and usually means one or more of these vital nutrients is missing. With every meal, make sure there’s always enough fat, fiber, and protein. A great example of a breakfast is Greek yogurt (some protein) with added walnuts (fat) and berries (for extra fiber.)
THE BOTTOM LINE IS…
Nourishing your body in regular intervals should always be your priority, including during the holidays. When you try to look at holiday meals as you would any other meal and keep the holiday meals on the same neutral playing field, you’ll have no problem walking out the holidays leaner and healthier.
If this is difficult, it can be sort of helpful to protect yourself from the stressful diet culture messaging around the holidays. And, of course, seeking some guidance from dietitians or coaches is also a great way to ensure you’re cultivating a healthy relationship with food that won’t have you restricting yourself over the holidays and beyond.