Healthy Eating During the Holidays

The holiday season is a wonderful time to celebrate and enjoy quality time with family and friends. It’s a time for love, laughter, joy and gratitude. It can also be filled with temptation and feelings of guilt. These next few months are often filled with events that may feel unmanageable at times. Here are some tips from Tribe Medicine on ways to stay healthy and nourished throughout the holidays!

Continue to Nourish Yourself With Well Balanced Meals

A well-balanced meal consists of a nutrient-dense carbohydrate (sweet potatoes, beets, butternut squash, carrots, etc.), leafy greens or other vegetables, a healthy plant or animal protein, and a healthy fat (avocados, nuts & seeds, olive oil, coconut oil).  Make sure these are the components of your plate not only before your holiday events but during them as well!  

Practice Mindful Eating

Before each meal, pause and take 3-5 deep belly breaths to aid in bringing your body into a state of relaxation where it can properly digest and absorb the nutrients you are about to provide it.  During this time, check in with your body and your appetite. Sometimes we eat when we feel emotional signals, such as sadness, stress, frustration, or boredom. Check in with yourself. Are you eating because of hunger which shows up as low energy, weakness, or your stomach growling. Or are you eating something as an attempt to cover up unwanted emotions.  Once you have recognized that you are eating for the right reasons, take a few moments to smell your food and consider looking at it the same way you would look at art or nature. Tune in and ask your stomach what volume of food would satisfy you. Check in with what food groups your body may be asking for. Pause and spend time being grateful for what you’re about to enjoy and for all of the components of the meal.  Recognize the value and nourishment in each bite you are providing yourself. It is important to remove and limit any distractions during mealtime. This means turning off cell phones, computers, and TV screens and being fully present to your meal and those around you. Chew each bite 20-25 times, set your fork down between bites, and take time to enjoy the flavors of your meal.

Create Healthy Food Alternatives

There are so many amazing healthy recipes on the internet these days! Swap out the buttery + creamy mashed potatoes for healthy mashed sweet potatoes.  Offer to bring a vegetable dish to a holiday event. Roasted vegetables with olive oil are always a hit at parties and an easy thing to prepare! Consider bringing an alternative dessert such as black bean brownies to a holiday dinner if you usually avoid gluten, dairy, or any other food that doesn’t allow you to feel your best. That way you get to partake in dessert no matter what is being served. 

Check out our fall favorite: Gluten Free, Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies


Fill Most of Your Plate With Nutrient Dense Foods

 When choosing what to put on your holiday plate, think about the components of a healthy meal that were mentioned earlier.  Fill your plate with nutrient dense foods first, aiming for 80% of it being colorful vegetables. Choose items that you know will provide cellular energy and keep you feeling good throughout the day.


Take 20 Before Taking Seconds 

Our body has the ability to communicate with our mind, it will send signals of satiation to our brain once we are full.  This can take up to twenty minutes, which is why we often find ourselves overeating. Give your brain a chance to catch up to your body and slow down eating.  Before enjoying seconds take 20 minutes to allow your body to digest. Walk around, make conversation, drink some water, and then recheck your appetite. You most likely will realize you aren't hungry or you’ll want a smaller portion.  


We hope this information allows you to navigate your holiday season with a little more ease and that the events you will be attending feel more manageable!

Happy Holiday Season from Tribe Medicine!

Follow Dr. Cerra @the.mindful.doctor and follow Tribe Medicine @tribemedicine