It’s that time of year; the holidays are here! It’s time for gatherings with friends and family with holiday meals of delicious food.
We know the holidays can be challenging when you have dietary restrictions. Exercising restraint is difficult for even the most strong-willed among us.
To be prepared for the holidays, we asked our staff for some advice on dealing with dietary restrictions during the holidays. Here is what they said:
“Be prepared and ask questions! I’m super blessed that my mom eats the same as I do, but when I have to go to other people’s houses, I always ask what they are making so I can see if there will be anything I can eat. Then I usually let them know that I will be bringing a dish. And of course, I allow myself treats that I normally would skip (hello cheesecake!)” – Erin C.
“For gatherings where food is provided, and there isn’t an option to bring my own: I always eat before I go! That way, I’m not so hungry that I’m tempted to make poor choices. I walk around with a glass of sparkling mineral water and no one even notices. Plus, I make sure I have my own treats, so I don’t feel deprived through the holiday season.” – Patty B.
“You are not on this planet to please anyone but you, so remember to honor yourself first at family gatherings and explain that passing on certain foods is not meant to be an insult, you are respecting what your body needs in that moment.” – Holly L.
We’ve put together this ultimate guide so you can keep feeling your best this holiday season:
- Bring your favorite dish
Erin mentioned contributing your own healthy recipes as an easy way to ensure you have something you can eat at your holiday party. This idea is great because you can still enjoy a meal with everyone while staying healthy.
- Don’t arrive at your holiday party on an empty stomach
Patty’s recommendation of eating before your party is smart! Although you may be tempted to skip breakfast and lunch so you can splurge on the holiday feast, don’t! Skipping meals makes it harder to manage your blood sugar, emotions, and fluctuation of weight.
- Choose fruits and veggies over starches
Go for the fruits and vegetables served raw, grilled, or steamed first. Try to avoid vegetables in creams, gravies, and butter, especially if you do not know what is in them. Remember, you can indulge, but portion control is key when enjoying things rich foods like mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and rolls.
- Hydration is key
Hydration is essential during the holiday season, especially if you have dietary restrictions. Try to stick to calorie-free drinks such as water, tea, seltzer, and coffee instead of sodas or mixed drinks. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount, and have it with food. For extra probiotics for your gut’s microbiome, go with a glass of red wine instead of beer or a mixed drink.
After your meal, suggest a walk with family and friends. Fresh air, sunlight, and movement is a welcomed break from being surrounded by tempting treats and a great way to lower your blood sugar levels after a meal.
As Holly mentioned, honor yourself and what your body needs. Remember that everyone is on their own journey, and that is okay. If people ask why you are passing on certain items, you this opportunity to educate them. Additionally, if you wind up overindulging, don’t beat yourself up – just make a plan to get back on track the next day.
We hope this guide for dealing with dietary restrictions during the holidays helps you navigate healthy eating this holiday season. Remember that you can still enjoy your meals without going overboard and ignoring your dietary restrictions. Eat drink and be merry – in moderation!
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