Eating healthy through the holidays isn’t easy. It’s a social thing eating in the twenty first century; you want to catch up with old friends? Drinks and appies. You want to see a grandparent or parent and catch up? Dinner and dessert. It’s a wonderful way to share a good amount of time and let’s face it everyone needs to eat. However sometimes it can be a bit daunting to those of us with health restrictions.
I decided to share a few of my tips on how to eat a little easier at restraunts or at family dinners to avoid feeling guilty and still find plant based options.
My top 5 Tips of how to stay plant based during the holidays:
- Restraunts: It’s obvious that a salad is an easy go-to-classic to avoid feeling gross after eating out. However sometimes we go to restraunts who don’t exactly offer meal sized salads, and if they do they aren’t exactly healthy. They are often covered in bread or deep fried additives to make them seem “more appealing” totally defeating the purpose of eating something that won’t make you feel sick or guilty. In this scenario I like to order teriyaki bowls at restraunts and ask for the sauce on the side. Majority of restraunts have hopped on the reality train and often serve brown rice or quinoa based teriyaki bowls. They often offer meat or an alternative tofu topping, but if the tofu option doesn’t exist I just ask for no meat and request they just add more steamed vegetables on the bowl. I know this isn’t a crazy excited dish but at least you know it’s something you can eat and feel well after eating.
- Bring it yourself: A lot of the time when going to family dinners they are of a potluck kind of fashion. If you bring your own version of a vegan stuffing or a vegan casserole, odds are it will be a hit. People will want to try because it’s something different. You can then just load your plate with your own dish and not have to worry about the mystery ingredients in the other wonderful yet surely dairy and meat-full dishes.
- Have in moderation: Sometimes my mom makes Christmas cookies, okay she makes the every night I’ll be honest. They smell amazing. I can just smell the buttery goodness through the crack under my bedroom door as they seep towards me. I also know how good they are. What I sometimes do is I’ll make a plate of fruit, like an apple and a persimmon or some grapes and I’ll add a cookie to the plate. I find if I fill up on the natural sugars and plant-based foods, that one cookie satisfied my craving. If however I just sat down and had one cookie, I know myself; I’d go back for two or three more, because I was still hungry. If however you fill yourself, that one small treat will do the trick.
- Portion Control: Sometimes making your own dish isn’t realistic; many of us don’t have a ton of spare time lying around during the holidays, understandably. When we are faced with this issue we often just have what our families have brought or bought to choose from. In this scenario I highly urge just building your plate properly. If there is a salad or a vegetable side, load up on it. If you want some of your grandma’s mashed potatoes, grab some. Just make sure to have a lot more of the vegetables than potatoes. Make sure you tailor your plate to what you can eat. If you prefer to low grain, grab the least amount of grains. If you aren’t a big fan of eating meat, grab none. Sides are the best part anyways if you ask me.
- Don’t Freak Out: Sometimes we are our own worst critics. We chastise ourselves for eating that piece of lasagna and that builds a negative mindset. The best advice I have for this is treat everyday like it’s a brand new start. Yes, yesterday I might have had Greek food and pizza, but today I can make a conscious choice to make sure my food options are what best aligns with my values and personal beliefs. It’s about being forgiving and knowing when to let yourself breath, not treating yourself poorly and building a bad mindset.
I hope some of these tips helped, and I also hope everyone is kind to himself or herself this holiday season. Try your best, that’s all you can do.
Until next time,
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