The Holiday Sabotage
Here comes the wonderful holiday season of sabotage. Starting in Thanksgiving and all the way through the New Year, there seems to be food all around us. I love this delightful time and yet it threatens to undo all my hard work of eating healthy and staying fit. If you are like a large number of Americans, you are trying to have healthier eating patterns by serving more natural products. Perhaps you are avoiding high fructose corn syrup and additives. Maybe you choose to eat locally from sustainable family farms. We hope you are consuming pasture raised poultry and eggs. You may be opting for more organic products, and avoiding GMO.
Whether you consider yourself a moderate health food consumer, a strict Gluten-free, a paleo follower, or just a concerned foodie, you and I are trying to make good choices. And the holidays….well, they seem to be against us in that arena.
Tis the Season Of Weight Gain?
So does the approach of the holidays really mean sabotage? Does it mean we will automatically gain weight and our health will spiral down due to excess sugars, carbs, and … well, the sheer amounts of gastronomical temptations? With little or no planning, the answer is YES. It doesn’t have to be that way, however, if we look ahead.
A Fighting Strategy
Making a few tweaks here and there can mean a world of difference. Some of you will, out of necessity or preference, plan a strict holiday season following a complete gluten-free menu. With help from experts like Carol Kicinski, who authors the magazine and website Simply Gluten-Free, that solution can be a delicious and healthy possibility. But others will need to plan and shop purposefully, in a way that fits their particular family. You will need your own personal fight plan.
Go for Clean and Beautiful
Think “pure and clean,” and frequently set out gorgeous fruit platters in place of what we call ” floopy doopy desserts.” You know the ones I mean: lots of icing, fillings, and questionable ingredients. By the way, why do these things taste good? In the moment they are like “umm, yum,” then later it is more like “oh nooo, why did I eat that!”
Raw vegetables can be cut up and creatively arranged in holiday shapes. Vegetable, meat and cheese kabobs can be put on skewers and inserted into pumpkins like turkey feathers. Our teenage son does a beautiful edible centerpiece for us each year.
Don’t Forget Healthy Deliciousness
Experiment with deviled egg recipes using blue cheese or Greek yogurt. Instead of appetizers that use crescent rolls or ready made biscuit dough, try chicken kabobs with a side of peanut or sesame oil sauce. Ditch the marshmallows and top your sweet potatoes with pecans, or bake them whole and sprinkle with butter and cinnamon. Make a lovely tray of roasted vegetables adding in some you rarely use. Buy various nuts in the shell, purchase a few adorable nutcrackers, and sit around the fire eating nuts instead of candy. Healthy food is delicious. We just seem to forget that when the holidays roll by. And besides being delicious, it makes us feel good about ourselves. That’s a treat in itself!
Small Choices Can Be Big
Small wrong choices add up, but so do small wise choices! Got a hankering to stop at a fast food place for peppermint shakes? Dark chocolate chips, sea salt and peppermint extract combine to make luscious peppermint bark instead. Or try this wonderfully easy almond bark. Make it together and eat it together.
Moderation is another time-tested antidote for that stuffed holiday feeling, so slow down and enjoy each delicious bite. One delicious serving is better than two rushed ones!
People Centered Holidays
Most importantly, let people be your holiday treat. Want to undo the sabotage? Make an effort this year to first and foremost connect with the people around you. See their good qualities and enjoy them. Listen to their stories, laugh, encourage them and be encouraged by them. Make the people your party, not the food. And then, enjoy some delightful taste sensations that bring back memories, or create new ones. Holiday times, we are ready for you!