For those of us that work hard & at least try to eat well, the holidays are a mix of excitement and anxiety. Our schedules are overloaded with get togethers and parties that cram up our gym time. Our meal prepping and healthful eating is consistently tempted by a slew of seasonal goodies that seem to be everywhere. Plus, it’s cold! Even here on the island, it’s (at least relatively) chilly.
Which makes it even harder to get out of bed for that 6 a.m. workout or hot yoga class.
Personally, I always go into the holiday season feeling like a champ. Pie? Bleh. No time? Says who?
And then the holidays actually happen – and, just like many-a-year in my past, the holidays end up being more about survival. My fitness & goals surviving through constant partying, gift-wrapping, cold-weather stress.
This year, though, I am attempting to change my mindset. Instead of surviving, I want to thrive. I’m also injured this year – so going for a quick run isn’t much of an option – but I have faith that all of the hard work I’ve put in over the last few years can carry me over into the New Year. I know what’s right for my body, what I should be eating and what I need to do. I know that, logically, a few treats won’t derail my progress. I also finally realized that the less I stress about what I’m eating and doing, the better choices I make – and the better I feel all together.
So, I scoured the internet and racked my brain looking for tips & tricks for a happy and healthy holiday season
1. Bring a healthy dish or two (or three!)
First, I think it’s really awesome that there’s a breadth of healthified holiday recipies out there, whether you’re veg/vegan, paleo, gluten free, or just a small kine health nut. It’s exciting to think, whoa, I could have an entire Christmas dinner & make it healthy! Realistically, though, most of us can’t just hijack dinner and force our dietary practices upon our entire extended family.
The easiest thing to do is to just whip up a few healthy dishes you can happily pile up on your plate. At my grandmother’s house, we do a potluck, so my Mom and I bring a super healthy appetizer, like a veggie or fruit tray, and a main dish to share come dinner time. Our favorite thing to make is a gigantic dish of veggies, usually sweet onions, eggplant, asparagus, green onions & squash, which we lightly season with lemon, pepper, garlic, and a little olive oil. It’s delicious, cheap and easy to make, and we love having a ‘safe’ dish to chow down on.
2. If you’re gonna feast, fill up on & protein
If you are going to get down at the dinner table, fill up on protein rather than carbs & heavier dishes, like green been casserole or mashed potatoes. Protein is naturally more filling; it’s a lot easier to down a ton of sweet potato casserole than an entire plate of turkey.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan (like me!) and turkey’s a no-go, bring a veg protein source to the table to share. Health food stores carry tons of veg mock-turkeys and field roasts that are beyond delish. Lentil loafs, such as the one I made from the Oh She Glows recipe, are great if you don’t want to shell out for pricier alternatives.
3. Don’t show up hungrier than a wild animal.
We all do it – starve ourselves all day long so that we can indulge when Christmas dinner finally rolls around. We’re hungry, groggy, dizzy and READY.TO.EAT.EVERYTHING. It might seem like a good game plan to “save up” calories, but it’s not. You’re mucking up your metabolism and ensuring you have a totally miserable day instead of enjoying time with loved ones.
A better bet? Go on a run or to yoga class if you can, eat a solid breakfast, and snack on fruits & veggies throughout the day. It’ll keep your metabolism revved, and you’ll feel light and energized when you finally sit down for dinner.
4. Do what you can, when you can
For me, the hardest thing – regardless of how much time I have – is not stressing about everything. What I’m eating or doing or how much I worked out become an obsession that distracts me from spending time with family & friends. It’s not fun to be anxious and worried and borderline crazy during the happiest time of the year. It’s also the best way to make sure I say “f*ck it” and down an entire plate of cookies. The answer is balance and doing what you can, when you can – and simply leaving it at that 🙂
What do you guys do to survive the holidays?