It’s that time of year again when we’re inundated with all things delicious, rich and irresistible. Our schedules are crammed full of parties, get togethers and holiday outings with friends and family. The weather turns cold and it is hard to get motivated to exercise. Let’s face it – it’s tough to stay on track with your healthy habits when there are so many ways to get off track.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and tends to set the stage for what is to come. If it goes well, you are motivated to keep at it over the coming weeks.
If you didn’t catch last week’s post, you must click that link and read it! I’m doing a holiday challenge to help you stay on track. It’s totally free and is going to be an amazing opportunity to learn about mindful and intuitive eating in a supportive environment.
As part of that, I am going to do a weekly about staying on tack during the holidays. Each post will work through the 4 pillars of health. I’ll throw in a few posts about healthy recipes too 😁
This week’s focus – NUTRITION
Whether you’re hosting or visiting you can be in control of what you eat at Thanksgiving –
“But my aunt never has healthy food”
“How am I supposed to say no to sweet potato pie?”
“No one is going to eat my healthy Thanksgiving meal. I have to do the traditional stuff”
Let’s all breathe, give thanks, and figure out a way through this.
If You’re Hosting
If you’re hosting, remember – you do you. If you want to have a themed Thanksgiving (plant-based, gluten-free, paleo, etc…), then by all means, do that! Just be open with your guests. I recommend finding a common ground. So you will prepare foods that you are comfortable with serving but guests are welcome to bring other items to supplement.
There are 2 things to tell yourself:
- Thanksgiving is just 1 day out of the entire year
- The key is balance – finding healthier options to traditional dishes.
The last one is really important. You need to find balance and go at this with an all or nothing mentality. We all know an ultra-healthy Thanksgiving may or may not taste like cardboard. Anyone can look up some super healthy recipe and put it on the table. Your goal is to find healthful foods that your guests want to eat. Sound good?
There are so many amazing recipes for Thanksgiving! Here are a few amazing recipes you need to consider this year:
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce instead of canned
- Stuffing Poppers instead of traditional stuffing – portion size baked in!
- Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing
- Carrot Ginger Soup
- Garlic Mashed Cauliflower instead of potatoes
- Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Harvest Quinoa Salad
- Healthy Waldorf Salad
- Healthy Sweet Potato Skins
- Roasted Vegetable Galette
- Marinated and Roasted Turkey
Here are a few additional tips
- Follow the 80/20 rule. Either the dish is 80% healthy, 20% indulgent or the spread is 80% healthy, 20% indulgent. You choose. This could mean you still have your grandma’s stuffing recipe with traditional gravy and turkey. Or it could mean you find a moderately healthier gravy that is still quite taste and you modify the stuffing a bit to have whole grains and nuts.
- Let guests know in advance what you’ll be serving. You don’t need to say “healthy stuffing.” Just say what it is – stuffing.
- Before adding more sugar, fat, or starch to a recipe, ask yourself, “does the recipe really need this?” Often times you can cut back a portion without sacrificing the flavor.
- Rich foods have huge flavor. Play on that. For example, some delicious prosciutto on a small, thinly sliced baguette round with fig jam and goat cheese can be amazingly satisfying as a small appetizer.
If You’re a Guest
Most think they are at the mercy of their host. So, if Great Aunt Susan is hosting and doesn’t care a thing about what she calls your “granola lifestyle” you’ll just have to go hungry.
Not so fast.
There is a lot of research about locus of control – is the control within you or outside of you. When you feel it is outside of you, that sets a spiral of actions and responses into play to set yourself up for failure. I mean, you’re at the mercy of everyone else so why care?
But when you feel you are in control of a situation, you are much more likely to find a solution to your problem. You are more likely to spend a little more time thinking about the situation and assessing what you can do. Just because someone else with a different view about food and healthy lifestyle is hosting does not mean you need to go hungry.
First things first – assess the situation. Do you think there will be any food you’d enjoy eating? NOT food you think you should or shouldn’t eat, but food you would actually enjoy.
If there will be food you can eat, my guess is that you are either worried it’s all unhealthy and you’ll lose control while you’re there. If that is the case, I will reassure you that there is another way. This is where intuitive and mindful eating come into play. Head over to my facebook page and watch this video to learn more about that. If you’re thinking, “YES! These skills are exactly what I would like to cultivate so I can have freedom from food and dieting” then you need to check out my facebook group and holiday challenge above.
If there will be some foods you enjoy but it makes you a little anxious to think of how few healthy options there will be, then it’s time for you to take a little action. Email, call or text the host to say, “I recently made this amazing dish that I would love to bring for Thanksgiving. Would that be OK with you?” Simple, right? Most people will say yes. Don’t talk about it being keto or so healthy – many people are put off when they hear these terms. Instead, just talk about what it is as a fact – a delicious dish you’d love to share. This will help you stay on track and be a great example to your family of how delicious healthy eating can be when done with intention.
If there are no foods you’ll enjoy or can eat, then I would recommend two things. First, try the option above where you reach out to the host. Depending on the relationship between you two, maybe you could bring a few dishes to eat.
If this other person is not supportive of your lifestle and is so controlling they will not allow other food choices in the house, you’ll have 2 options.
- Don’t go. I know, I know, it’s not always that easy. But it is your life and that sounds like kind of a toxic place to spend a day when you celebrate what you’re grateful for.
- Eat before. I know it’s not ideal, but if there is no other options, just be sure to go will a full tummy. You don’t need to tell everyone why but that’s up to you.
That is all I have today! I hope you all feel more energized and excited to take on the Holiday season with intention. I promise it will be so worth it!
Before you go, please leave a link to your favorite holiday dish below!
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