If you want to improve the way you eat, you have to have a plan. Even throughout the holiday months, a plan is essential for improving the way you eat. It can help prepare you for many of the tricky food-related situations you might find yourself in and allow you to make better food decisions when tempting foods continue to appear.
Day 2 –> Setting Up Your Healthy Holiday Eating Plan
Before you start to stress out about all the extra work setting up a plan will involve, know that it shouldn’t be too difficult as long as you’ve already got some of the basics down. Meal planning should already be something you are doing. The holidays simply add in their own unique nuances that you have to be able to account for.
So to help you out, here are a few of my top holiday-inspired meal planning tips:
Know Your Holiday Agenda.
Before you can plan ahead, you have to know what you are planning for. Look through your calendar and make a special note of any holiday parties, get-to-gethers, special dinners, or family events you are expected to attend. Hopefully, you have some sort of idea as to what to expect at each, but if not, this is the perfect opportunity to call ahead and ask. By knowing what sort of foods are going to be served or if you are responsible for bringing a dish pass, you can then decide what course of action you will need to take before the event arrives. This can decrease the amount of stress that often accompanies holiday meal planning.
Stick to the Basics – When You Can.
Although it may seem like there are no down days during the holiday season, there actually are quiet a few. Even if you don’t have a whole lot of them, its likely that most of your weekdays remain unchanged by this unique time of year. These “down” days don’t get a lot of attention; however, they really are important. Make sure that each down day is a good day by incorporating a few more traditional meal planning tactics into your routine. For example, take some time to plan out breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day of the week. Make sure each meal is well-rounded and incorporates protein, fiber, and healthy fats. By having a solid meal foundation, you’ll find that your holiday meal planning becomes that much more successful. Why? Because when you eat your best most of the time, you are able to have a little more freedom when it comes to special occasions. Plus, you will be less likely to overindulge because your regular meal plan kept your hunger in check.
Keep a Stocking Full of Healthy Treats Near By.
Okay, so maybe you don’t want to carry around an actual stocking, but you get the idea. Having a stash of healthy snacks on hand can be a great way to prep for any holiday event. No matter how well you plan, there are usually a few surprises you couldn’t have anticipated. By having a few healthy snacks around, you can be prepared for the unexpected. Keep them in your desk at work, your car console, or your purse. This way you will never be overly hungry or stuck without some sort of nutritious option to nibble on. My current favorite? Cinnamon and sugar sprinkled almonds. Seriously. Its festive, yet full of nutrients and staying power. Plus, its easily portable.
Plan Your Events Around Loved Ones, Not the Food They Bring.
Unfortunately, food is often the focal point of many holiday parties and events. This can make it incredibly difficult to introduce change – especially when that change involves types of food that many view to be boring. After all, who wants boring for Christmas? No one wants that, and its a shame that our poor nutritious foods are often viewed as such. But what if we take the focus of off the food for a little bit? What if we instead focus on spending time together with our loved ones? Maybe going for a holiday walk or playing a favorite board game? At work parties, why not focus on good conversation – learning more about your colleagues and the lives you assume they lead once they leave the office? By taking the focus off the food being served and placing it onto the people we care about, something amazing happens. We have a wonderful time and we don’t mind so much if there are more carrots than cookies to choose from. Your “anti-health-food” friends and family may even be more open minded to the nutritious fare they are presented with if they are modestly distracted by the other activities going on at the event.
Survive Holiday Parties By Bringing Your Own Survival Kit.
Back up plans are just as useful as the original. If something goes wrong or you forget what your original plan was, having a secondary course of action can be essential. One of my favorite ways to ensure healthy eating at a holiday party is to have a Holiday Survival Kit with you at all times. Its just fun to say. Your Survival Kit should include a bottle of water, a small piece of fruit, a handful of almonds,a card or dice game, and a small sheet of paper with your healthy eating goals listed on it. This way you have no excuse not to eat well while at a party and you’ll be reminded as to why its so important in the first place. Plus, if all else fails and the party is a total bomb, you’re good to go with your card or dice game. Its almost like a party in a box.
Day 2 Homework –> Create a game plan for one of your upcoming holiday parties and identify what action steps you need to take to ensure that you eat your best while still enjoying all the event has to offer. Once you know what your action steps will be, share them with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
Want to learn how to successfully eat healthy this holiday? Read all the Healthy Holiday Challenge posts here.
The Girl Behind the Plate,