Inevitably, around this time of your, many are wondering “How can I eat well through the holidays, but still enjoy them?”
God gave us our senses and wants us to enjoy the wonderful, delicious food He’s created. The Bible takes a lot about food and feasting. That being said, anything can be good or bad, food is amoral. But our motivation for eating and how we eat is what makes the difference.
During the holidays, it’s important that we enjoy our food and time with our families. Here’s how you can eat well while still keeping in mind how to stay on track with your goals.
Don’t eat perfectly! I hate to break it to you, but I don’t eat perfectly. Never have, never will. I don’t expect my clients to either. There is a lot of sentimental attachment to food. After all, many of our earliest memories are from holidays which involved special foods.
You should plan on eating one or two of your favorite dishes. Unless you have some health restrictions that don’t allow you the eat these foods, you should definitely enjoy them, even if they have gluten, dairy, or margarine for that matter! I promise you that a serving of Aunt Edna’s special stuffing won’t kill you.
Give yourself grace. If you want or need to recreate something you enjoy in a healthier version, understand that it may take some practice. Cooking gluten-free, or dairy-free, or egg-free is definitely a learning curve and takes some time.
If you try a new recipe and it flops, first of all, join the club. Then, give yourself some grace. It takes time and practice to learn how to bake with alternative flours or without eggs. If at first you don’t succeed, find a new recipe and try again.
Cheat by using “convenience foods”. There are more and more brands now that have allergy-friendly foods. Many of these brands, like Simple Mills, have a short ingredients list with real foods.
That being said, there are some great, healthier alternatives that are also convenient and easy to prepare. It may also help to prep what you can the day before so that you can enjoy some down time on the holiday instead of slaving in the kitchen all day.
Eat before going. If you’re going somewhere you know there won’t be any food that you can eat for health reasons, it’s best if you eat before you go. It’s hard enough to refuse food when you’re full, but nearly impossible if you’re hungry.
Regardless of where you eat, there’s almost always an option of a veggie tray or summer sausage etc. that would be a healthier option that you can munch on while you’re there.
Bring a healthy dish to pass. My children have food allergies. Meaning that many times, even if I wanted to, I can’t let them eat what’s available. To handle this while not making our host overwhelmed with food restrictions, I’ll bring a dish to pass.
Regardless of if it’s a side dish, you can make something that is hearty and has some protein in it. Then you can enjoy what you brought and still enjoy the company too. You may be surprised by who else digs into, and enjoys your dish.
If you are super sensitive to something like gluten or dairy and know you may be exposed during your meal, it may be a good idea for you to have some supplements on hand to mitigate any unpleasant effects.
Holidays are wonderful times that you should enjoy your family, friends, and good food. Don’t let self-imposed food rules ruin your fun.