When I was working as a healthy eating coach I, through the influence of my employer, hosted 28 day vegan challenges. These were great opportunities to focus and reset and my husband and I had great success in honing our eating and cutting out the junk.
All that said, now, as a parent, I find this kind of strict adherence to “rules” or “challenges” or “cleanses” as impossible as showering every day or getting a full nights sleep. Let’s be honest, between managing screen time, teaching manners, sleep training, who needs another guideline?
That said, the holiday season kicks off with a more-than-anyone-needs dose of candy on Halloween and blasts straight through on a sugar high to the new year. So what can we do to apply some reason, reality, and good sense to eating healthy during this crazy time?
First and foremost embrace this: Eating healthy isn’t an all or nothing proposition.
Then try these tips…
5 Tips for Easily Eating Healthy this Holiday Season
- Throw in some extra veggies: This can be as simple as adding a handful of spinach to your hot pasta before adding the tomato sauce or plopping in some frozen veggies to a pre-made noodle soup.
- Look for more whole alternatives: Easy switches like picking up brown rice pasta or whole grain bread (Dave’s Killer Bread is a great option we love in our house) mean that you can still stick to simple pasta dinners or sandwich lunches while feeling good about the extra dose of fiber and nutrients.
- Have fruit on hand: Fruit is nature’s most portable snack option and I find that in busy times if I have an apple, banana, orange, or berries on hand, I’m more likely to pack those up than a bag of bunny crackers. Availability and visibility also goes a long way to getting kids (and adults) to eat more of something.
- Hide the junk: On the flip side, tucking away the candy and cookies also goes a long way to minimizing their consumption. Granted, we only have a two year old and I know it varies by age, but after Halloween we tucked away both the kid and adult candy, which seemed to really curb our consumption. Same goes for all those Christmas cookies – stick them in a tin and store them in a cabinet or better yet the freezer. This way you’ll have to think a little bit more about your indulgences.
- Let it go: Frozen hasn’t hit big in our house, but even I can conjure the famous chorus in my hand that tells us to “Let it go! Let it go!”. Seriously. Stressing and fighting aren’t the way to a healthy family environment or a healthy diet so accept that sometimes despite your best efforts, you just have to go with the flow. Maybe this means that cookies are lunch on the holiday party day or pie is breakfast the day after Christmas. Remember that long term health is built by the habits you practice day in and day out. One or two or ten days do not define your habits, especially if you ensure you do the things above to quickly and effortlessly get back on track with the daily practices that really matter.