craft your plan for healthier holiday eating
The internet is inundated with a gazillion tips on how to eat healthy over the holidays. I’m not sure if that’s something you like to google or not, but instead of reading someone else’s list of tips that may not jive with your budget, traditions, or taste buds, why don’t you write your own? I like to think that most people know what they need to do to be healthy. You don’t always need someone else to tell you. I bet you have one idea in your head that you know you can do to make your holiday feasting a little bit healthier. I’m not saying that healthy holiday eating tips are bad, and in fact, I would love to write them up for you because I don’t agree with most of the search results that come up when you google all these tips. Maybe you’ll find a list of them here next year, but for now, let’s try a proposal.
I’m suggesting that you write a holiday feasting proposal that spells out exactly how you plan to eat healthy over the holidays. This proposal is more like a lens to use when viewing the upcoming banquet tables and associated food festivities. Include in your proposal a tangible action step. For example, if your holiday feasting proposal is to try to avoid eating corn syrup, the action step in your proposal could be to bake your own yams instead of buying those corn syrup sweetened canned yams. Make your action step something that you know you can do. It’s ok if it’s little. One healthy step with intention is better than nothing.
Be sure to give yourself a little freedom in your proposal. Write something in it that gives you the freedom to have some treats. Sometimes I wonder if post-food guilt is unhealthier for us than the actual ‘naughty’ food we consumed. This is part of what I put in mine: enjoy naturally sweetened archerfriendly cinnamon rolls on Christmas Day. I don’t really eat sugar. And my health is super sensitive to natural sweeteners, so I minimize them. But in my proposal, I’m giving myself the green light, not to go nuts on sugar at Christmas, but I’m telling myself ahead of time it’s ok to sweeten my cinnamon rolls with maple syrup. If you give yourself permission ahead of time, you may be less likely to overeat out of guilt.
What a Holiday Feasting Proposal Is Not:
- A Rule. I don’t like food rules, although ironically, my many food allergies have kind of created a gob of food rules for my diet. Food rules and the holidays just don’t wrap together very well. What you need is a mindset. Formulate that mindset in your proposal.
- All-or-Nothing. A proposal is a guide to help you make healthier choices over the holiday. It’s almost impossible to eat perfectly over the holidays. Sometimes the rule makers can get trapped into this rut of extremes; if their one rule is broken, it gives them the ticket to eat everything. The all-or-nothing mentality is a good way to trash any type of healthy holiday eating.
- A Guilt-Trip. Craft your proposal in a way that works against the guilty grain. The best way to do this is to incorporate the word “try” or “minimize” or “increase” instead of the rule words like “no” or “will not”.
You can write different segments of your holiday feasting proposal for each holiday. Or you can lump it together. Whatever you think will work for you. Part of my proposal is to minimize the use of sweeteners for Thanksgiving, but I gave myself permission to use them for Christmas. Because my Thanksgiving proposal is to minimize sweeteners, my tangible action step is to make my own pumpkin pie, which is sweetened with a dab of honey and a few dates in the crust. I haven’t shared that recipe with you yet, but it is delicious.
Now, I’m not giving you the ticket to just go eat whatever you want. I’m inviting you to sit down and write out how you want to eat over the holidays. What do you want to avoid? What do you want to give yourself permission to eat? It’s easy to just read this and walk away, as it can feel cheesy to actually follow through with this writing exercise, but if you don’t write it down, you don’t have a plan.
I would love for you to share your Holiday Feasting Proposal in the comments (that counts as writing it down)!