For people who have any type of fitness or wellness goals, the holidays can be a really intimidating time. Weight gain almost seems inevitable. Sliding back into old habits seem like it’s pretty certain. Not to mention the uncomfortable conversations that start with, “That’s all you’re going to eat?” or “Well look at you being all healthy!”
It can be a lot.
Fear not. There’s no rule that says October through February HAVE to be months full of dread and weight gain. YOU are in control. That’s the most important thing for you to remember during this season.
So first thing, let’s talk about some tips on how to make it through holiday meals. If you’re hosting, it’s a little bit easier because you’re in full control of whatever is served. Now, if it were me, I wouldn’t necessarily change EVERY dish from it’s original form to a healthier version. It’s safe to say you probably don’t want to be known for the year you served tofurkey.
Give yourself options. If you know you can sit down and have a plate with a great protein and lots of veggies, you can probably still have one roll. However, you do need to know yourself. If you’re struuuuggling with portion control, maybe make your plate ahead of time when you’re in your healthiest mindset.
And if you know you’ll be fine at dinner but dessert is where you’ll be having a harder time, do your research on a healthier version of your favorite treat. Then enjoy in moderation. To avoid the temptation of grazing, send your guests home with leftovers.
If you're not hosting, preparation is STILL key. There’s so many unknown factors when you’re entering into a potluck style meal, so you’ve got to get your game face on. This is where you might have to be ready for those uncomfortable conversations. I know someone who’s trying to heal her leaky gut and she brought a huge platter of roasted veggies as her dish to Thanksgiving and she ate that, a little bit of turkey, and sipped on her bone broth that she also brought. Sure, some people asked questions, but MOST people are just curious and want to be supportive once you tell them what’s going on.
If you have the opportunity to “sign up” for what you want to bring rather than being assigned, my go to is always a green salad (bring your own dressing!) and a dessert. That way, you know you can fill your plate with nutrient heavy veggies and literally have seconds or thirds of it and most definitely not feel like your goals are in jeopardy.
Now let’s get to the fun stuff!
Here are some of my favorite recipes that don’t break the calorie bank and will still let you feel like you’re a part of the celebration.
Herb and Salt-Rubbed Dry Brine Turkey: I love that preparing it this way only calls for a little bit of olive oil rather than the sticks and sticks of butter in other recipes. And look at that crispy skin!!
Chopped Harvest Salad: This is a great salad that’s definitely not boring. You can customize it to drop the fat lower as well, by removing the bacon, nuts, and/or cheese. And the dressing recipe is a great one to have on hand!
Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pomegranates: Don’t turn your nose up at this one on the title alone. It’s simply delicious. If you never thought you were a brussel sprouts fan, you’ve gotta try this one.
Mom’s Pecan Pie: Now this one is a bit different. It’s a bit more on the indulgey side. HOWEVER. I think if you’re going to be splurging, it should be on a recipe like this that is made with real ingredients that are also non-inflammatory. WIN-WIN! Just make sure you have an action plan for those leftovers!
Before I’m done, I want to make one final point: Is one meal going to blow up your goals? No. Is even one weekend? Nope. Sure, meal after meal, plate after plate, yes. But the holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Don’t stress over every bite. Be mindful, but don’t allow the joy of this amazing season to be robbed over counting calories. YOU are in control, remember?