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  • Writer's pictureDiana Allen, MS, CNS

Holiday Survival Guide: 5 Tips

1. Healthy food first. Always begin each day and each meal with whole, intact, nutrient-dense foods. If you have a party/event at night, eat light, wholesome foods throughout the morning and afternoon. At the event, start with water-rich fresh fruit or raw veggies, salads with a squeeze of lemon juice or oil-free dips like guacamole and hummus to fill your stomach with satiating fiber. (If you are watching your weight, this can help you eat less calories overall, too—check out the graphic below for details. YIKES!)

2. Upgrade traditional meals. Any favorite, classic holiday treats and dishes can be prepared and enjoyed in a healthier way. Instead of depending on isolated fats and oils to saute with and as a base for soups, dressings and sauces, use broth, water, vinegar and lemon or lime juice. Bake and thicken foods with applesauce, vegetable purees, flax or chia seeds, almond butter and other whole food fats and sweeteners. Season with herbs & spices including curry powder, pumpkin pie spice, tarragon, sage...the list goes on. Bonus: Culinary herbs and spices are loaded with antioxidants and health benefits—from blood sugar balancing (cinnamon) to anti-inflammatory (ginger, turmeric) and antimicrobial (oregano, garlic, thyme) activity.

3. Get a move on! Maintain your fitness routine as you would throughout the year. In fact, you may have even more time available now for physical activity. Moving your body helps your mind to de-stress and stay focused. Plus, exercise makes you feel great! If you will be visiting loved ones, take walks, dance together or try a new yoga class. You can even get down on the floor and stretch while watching TV. Just do it!

4. Stay focused on your goals. Be it optimizing health, reducing disease risk, increasing digestive comfort, decreasing pain or anything else, keep your goals in the front of your mind. Write down affirmations or tack up pictures that remind you of your intentions, your success and a strategy to stick to your plan – even when facing temptation and a change of routine. This is a brief part of the year that can be successfully used as a time of reflection and re-centering.

5. Remember what’s important. Instead of giving all your attention to the food at holiday parties, gatherings and events, focus on other joyful parts of the festivities: catching up with friends & loved ones, enjoying your time off from work, exchanging gifts, connecting with your spiritual center, feeling grateful...

Happy Holidays!

This post and Caloric Density graphic adapted from a 2013 article by Julieanna Hever, the Plant-Based Dietitian. ❤︎

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