The Holiday Season is upon us! For a lot of people, this means more time spent with friends and family, filled with holiday cheer and feasts galore, however this can also steer us away from all the healthy eating habits we developed throughout the year. For those hoping to stay on track, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite tips for getting through the holidays while being healthy.
- Make your contribution a healthy one – For potlucks or get-togethers where you are contributing a dish, make your contribution a healthy one. This way, you know there will be at least one healthy item to choose from.
- Avoid skipping meals as part of the lead up – When we skip meals, we throw off our metabolism and blood sugar regulation, which we’ve worked so hard at maintaining throughout the year. When we skip meals, we’re also more likely to overeat at the next one.
- Make your plate look as festive as the holiday – Survey the spread before you start digging in. Start building your plate with a variety of colourful vegetables and fruits. Aim to cover at least half of your plate with these healthy choices and start eating your meal with these healthy vegetables as well. If you fill up on these, there won’t be much more room for the unhealthy options.
- Enjoy your favourites – If there is a dish you absolutely love and look forward to every year, don’t avoid it, but yet cherish it. Take a smaller than usual serving of this annual favourite and eat it slowly. Take time to really enjoy and savor the dish you’ve been looking forward to. Side note: It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal from your body that it’s full. If you eat slower in general, you’re less likely to end up over-eating.
- Plan, plan, plan, as much as you can – Like we talked about planning your plate with Tip #2, plan how long you plan to be at this party. If you’re going to splurge on a treat, plan which one. If you’re going to partake in any beverages, plan how many ahead of time. And also key for this holiday period, plan to rest. Sleep is such an important part of your health and recovery and missing out on sleep can take a toll on your metabolism and blood sugar regulation. If you need to step away from the party just for a little rest and recovery, this is also okay.
- Cherish the people, not the food – The best thing about the holidays is the time spent with those we appreciate the most. When conversing with friends and family, converse away from the food and drink table, so you’re not mindlessly picking away at food while visiting loved ones.
- Start 2020 guilt free – If your holidays don’t go as planned, don’t beat yourself up about it. Start 2020 off on the right foot and make your next meal a healthy one. Get back to your regular exercise routine. If you’re having trouble with either of these, we are always here to support you and don’t forget about our free services/supports – “Gentle Yoga for Cancer Recovery”, which is a great way to get some exercise in and our Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Classes.
Consider that, for many patients with cancer, this can be a challenging time of the year – going through active treatment, confronting major life changes and/or suffering from depression. If this sounds like you or one of your loved ones, we invite you to read one of our past blogs: “When the Holidays Aren’t So Joyful – Tips for Coping”.
However you choose to spend your holidays this season, we hope you enjoy it and we look forward to supporting you and your loved ones in 2020.
Naturopathic resident, CCNM Integrative Cancer Centre