How to Make Mindful Food Choices over the Holidays
It’s the holiday season and there is joy & cheer all around … and also lots of cookies, squares, yummy cheese dip and other treats everywhere. Some of these holiday foods may be made because of family traditions and others might be supplied at parties, extravagent dinners and holiday shindigs.
In our family, we have recipes that date back generations. My mom has recipe cards with notes from our grandma (and her mom) that make them just too precious for words. There is nothing better than spending an afternoon baking up some of these treats and enjoying one or two!
But let’s face it, some of these foods are just convenient, cheap and heavily processed. Like something a co-worker picked up at the grocery store at the last minute for the office potluck because they didn’t have time to cook. And when it comes to choosing what we indulge in over the holidays, I have a simple tip to help you choose the items you eat and enjoy without guilt.
My tip is actually inspired by a Baking Show and a judge who was tasting the contestant’s entries. She sampled one of the treats and simply said that “it wasn’t worth her calories.”
Yeah, she said that. And at the time, it caused a huge uproar because some people thought calories are beside the point when it comes to a baking competition. The same could be said about the holiday season – most of us put our healthy eating plans on hold and indulge without thought throughout the month of December. We arrive on January 1st feeling bloated & heavy and overwhelmed by the idea of overhauling our lives just to shed the weight we have put on.
But what if we didn’t do that?
What if instead, we made mindful choices about what foods were worth our calories? And it’s really NOT just about the calories. It’s about how those foods make you feel and their overall impact on your health and wellness. For example, I will probably indulge in a slice of pumpkin caramel cheesecake that is absolutely to die for. I don’t have it often but when we make during the holidays, I savour it.
I will opt out of store bought cookies or treats or that artichoke dip that a friend bought because there isn’t anything really special about them. In fact they leave me feeling worse for having eaten them. I know when I have really rich foods that I have stomach issues and spend a lot of time in the bathroom vs spending time with my friends and family. So to me, I would regret those food choices.
That’s why it’s important for you to pick and choose your favourites wisely. Make sure the choices are WORTH your calories. It’s all about having no regrets. It’s not just about your waistline, but also about your overall energy and well-being. Eating rich or sugary foods that you don’t normally have can have a pretty dramatic impac on your body. You might find yourself feeling moody, tired, or bloated. That means the foods that make you feel like that, just aren’t worth it.
It’s not about ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food choices. It’s about mindful food choices and being selective about what you eat. Whenever I am considering if I want to eat something, I ask myself how it will make me feel later. If it’s going to make me uncomfortable, tired or feel guilty later then it’s not worth eating.
And when you know you’re going to be surrounded by a lot of food choices that won’t make you feel good then plan in advance. Bring your own food or eat before you go. Make a protein packed smoothie and stock up on veggies. There are lots of ways for you to make healthy-for-you choices so that you can thrive all season long and enjoy your holiday favourites without guilt.
Need more holiday survival tips to help you stay healthy, happy & active? Grab my holiday survival guide and put my proven strategies to work for you and your lifestyle.