The holidays are upon us and that means a lot of unhealthy foods surround us. My kids got buckets of candy trick-or-treating, and although they are understanding more and more the need to eat healthier, the call of junk food is real. Although indulging every once in a while is okay, avoiding junk foods (especially sugar) will help your family’s holiday season go a lot better. Your body is already at risk during the stressful holiday season so give it a break and eat a little cleaner with these tips.
Have Healthy Food Easy to Grab
One of the things that lures us into junk food is the ease at which we can grab it and go. An apple is just as fast to grab as a candy bar if placed in a fruit basket, though. Make healthy snack foods easy to grab, whether it be nuts or fruit. Next time your craving for sweets comes along, grab from your stash and head out.
Keeping more complex things ready is as hard as doubling a batch and freezing it. You can make things like muffins or quick breads and freeze them for when you don’t have much time. Make extra servings of healthy meals and freeze for days you don’t have time to prep and are tempted to run to Little Caesars. When I get home from the grocery store, I cut up all my veggies and freeze part of them for things like stir fry, fajitas, and other quick prep meals too. Trust me it saves you a lot of stress later and helps you be healthier.
Find a Sub
Each person has a favorite junk food that just speaks to them. It is their pull when they want to eat unhealthy food. If yours is Hershey’s chocolate bars, for instance, try a dark chocolate bar with a high percentage of cacao and few added sugars. It will give you the benefits of a superfood and not make you feel as guilty when you do give in. If your demon is soda, try a sparkling probiotic drink like water kefir. If ice cream is your weakness, make frozen popsicles or yogurt with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and superfoods. You get the idea. Find a sub.
Please take note that substitutions should not be a daily thing. Clean eating is a lifestyle and there will be times to indulge. It’s ok to give in from time to time, just try to keep those times few and far between. Have a small piece of apple pie, or a single serving of organic potato chips, but eat them slowly and mindfully. Enjoy your treat without any feelings of guilt that may sabotage your eating goals.
Drink More Water
In my family growing up we used to joke that if there was a problem and you asked my mom for help the answer would be “drink more water and pray about it.” The older I have gotten the more I see the wisdom in that statement since spirituality and hydration fix a number of ills. Often when we crave unhealthy foods we are actually dehydrated. Fill a bottle with water and sip on it throughout the day. If you feel a craving, promise yourself that you will first drink two full glasses of water. By the time you are done, the craving may have subsided.
Make sure you are replenishing electrolytes lost when you exercise as well. Exercising is important, but it can get your body out of whack if you don’t rehydrate properly after working out. Always carry a water bottle with you when you exercise, even if you aren’t planning a heavy workout. If you end up doing an unplanned workout just hydrate well as soon as you can.
Enjoy Your Holidays
Thanksgiving and Christmas bring times for gratitude and reflection. The more you mindfully focus on the reason for the season rather than the stress of getting everything ready the less your body is going to crave unhealthy fixes. When your stress levels are down your adrenals can function properly and your body doesn’t feel as overworked. When you tax out your body with a ton of stress it is more prone to sickness and cravings for junk which create an even bigger loop of disease. Just treat your mind and body right. Relax and enjoy time with family and friends.
I hope you have a great holiday season with few regrets and a better path to healthy living!