The military loves a great get together and there’s no shortage of them during the holiday season. Although let’s face it, engaging in social festivities during any season is a tough time to stick to healthy choices. But with a little forethought, we can set ourselves up for success ensuring we don’t end the year with regret and guilt by eating healthy during the holiday season.
Wherever you’re stationed in the world, or what holidays you celebrate, there are some simple steps you need to face temptation and get through the season feeling great about yourself. Choices that allow you to stay energetic and happy, instead of lethargic and wanting to hide from functions.
Steps to Eating Healthy During the Holiday Season
Eating healthy during the holiday season can be hard, and these steps to healthy eating during the holidays aren’t intended to make you miserable or feel deprived. Temptations will surround you, and it’s important to make sure you determine what your goal is, and then find ways to stick to it.
Step 1: Be Practical
One way to do this is by taking steps to make a hard situation easier. Many people view healthy eating as a “do” or a “do not.” Making one unhealthy choice often makes them feel as though they have “failed” and that they might as well keep making unhealthy choices. However, there is a way to balance your healthy eating lifestyle amongst all the temptations of the holidays. Let’s call that “how to make it work in the real world when temptation is everywhere.”
Life is not about deprivation and constantly saying no to sweet treats. It is about balancing the yes and the no so we stay happy, healthy, feeling good, and free of health issues. Eating healthy during the holiday season doesn’t have to be about no cookies, maybe for you, it looks like fewer cookies.
Step 2: Plan for Success
We make some of our most unhealthy food choices when we have waited too long to eat. Then, when we have a decadent spread in front of us, we overindulge. One easy way to avoid this is to make sure you’re prepared for all.the.food.
If you’re attending a holiday party or any military function, plan to eat a mini-meal beforehand. It’s safe to assume most parties offer tons of heavy casseroles, bread, and lots of sweets, so it is best to have a good mini-meal before you go.
Favorite Mini-Meal Ideas for In Between Holiday Indulgences
- A healthy protein like turkey slices with avocado
- Greek or non-dairy yogurt with nuts
- A smoothie
- A palmful of raw nuts and dried cherries
- A healthy protein ball (here’s one favorite)
- Gluten-free crackers with hummus
- Any protein and vegetables
If you’re attending a potluck, bring a veggie-packed meal so you’re guaranteed a choice filled with nutrients and fiber (Plus, everyone else will love you for it!). After all, w know there won’t be a shortage of heavy foods and the dessert table is always well-stocked. What is usually missing? Delicious, abundant salads and vegetable dishes. So bring one of those! It makes everyone feel better about eating healthy during the holiday season.
Step 3: Be Mindful
All too often, we are stressed during the holidays. And so many overeat when stressed. Stress eating has a negative effect on our digestion and overall health. It’s not always possible to eliminate the stress, but it’s absolutely possible to decide how you manage it.
Breathing, yoga, and meditation are great ways to help manage stress. Here’s a great breathing exercise to do that has an immediate relaxing effect on your entire body.
Try taking a breath in through your nose, holding that breath for 7 seconds, and then releasing. Repeat this deep-breathing exercise several, and you will reduce those stressed feelings.
Being conscious of what you eat is key for your health and happiness, and will leave you better able to say no to the sweet treats or at least not eat them all. Make this holiday season the one where you stick to your goal of eating healthier. We’ll do it with you.
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Foodie. Big dreamer. Traveler. Empath. Girl next door. Loves to change lives. Must have my morning cuppa joe. Momma to 3 crazy boys. Holistic in a military world. Loves a delicious meal out with girlfriends. Pam Chavez is the woman behind Health on the Homefront, where she helps help Military Spouses prioritize themselves, discover their own personal mission, and break through the loneliness of military life.
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