Whether you recently made the switch to clean eating or you’ve been sipping green smoothies for years, you know the benefits extend well beyond weight loss. Eating fresh, minimally-processed, whole foods boosts energy, saves money, and improves your body’s ability to handle stress. And yet, each year, families across the nation gather for the holidays around tables laden with starchy, buttery, delicious dishes. The centerpiece for many? An entire turkey (and don’t forget the gravy). So how do you eat clean through the holidays?
If you’ve been eating acai bowls, hitting the tennis courts, and getting into the groove with your favorite group class, holiday meals may seem like more of a stress than a celebration. Whether you’re travelling home for the holidays, or hosting the seasonal feasts, we’ve got some ideas on how to eat clean without missing out.
Set expectations (for you and your family)
You might be tempted to fly under the radar, and hope nobody notices your clean eating. But talking to your friends and family may be a better strategy. By having conversations ahead of time you can alleviate peer pressure during the holidays. Explaining why you’re choosing to side-step sugar, booze, or carbs this year can help empower your family and friends to support rather than derail your clean eating efforts.
Small swaps add up
Trade the candied yams for roasted sweet potatoes. Load your plate with white meat instead of dark. Add some club soda to your glass of wine for a refreshing spritzer (and half the alcohol sugar). These swaps may seem small, but they make a big difference. There are plenty of ways you can adapt traditional holiday favorites to fit your lifestyle. Plus, a lot of these options are more nutritious than traditional staples.
Balance is key
Going cold turkey on holiday eating may be the easiest way to find yourself in the fridge at 2AM. In fact, research shows that all-out restrictions lead to a deprivation mindset, which actually causes you to eat more than you normally would. Instead of fasting until the feast, be sure to eat as usual leading up to the holiday meal. Having a healthy snack right before the meal may even help with impulse control when you’re dishing up.
And instead of saying no to everything indulgent, build a small plate of your favorites. Then load up your dinner plate with veggies and health-conscious sides. This is the easiest way to get a taste of the holidays without throwing your progress away.
Remember, the holidays should bring us joy not stress
In an ideal world, worrying about what’s on your plate won’t ruin your holiday experience. Here at Swell, we know that progress doesn’t look the same for everyone. We support our community, wherever you are in your wellness journey (and whether or not you eat clean through the holidays). Instead of restriction, we recommend conscientious eating and awareness about how food is both a social and physical experience. And remember, our team is here to help you get back on track once the holidays are over.