Holiday Tips

10 Tips For a Guilt-Free Holiday Season

We all know this time of year all too well. It always seems to creep up on us rather quickly. We're excited to spend time with family and friends, eat and drink and overindulge, but when the holidays start to settle, we are left feeling bloated, tired, and unmotivated.

Have no fear! I want you to feel light, energized and ready to get back at it during and after that holiday season!

Here are my 10 Tips for a Guilt-Free Holiday Season!  

1. Don't Skip Breakfast

Skipping breakfast will only set you up for a rollercoaster ride of blood sugar highs and lows. Upon waking is generally the longest we go without eating. It is for this reason that your blood sugar can invariably drop, leading you to consume and crave more sweets and unnecessary calories.

Start off with a balanced breakfast to curb your appetite and keep those blood sugar levels stable, maybe an easy breakfast casserole to feed the whole family. Try this egg & sausage bake recipe here

2. Get In Enough Protein, Healthy Fats & Vegetable

All these components of a meal are essential for stabilizing your blood sugar as well. We all get plenty of protein on thanksgiving, but we also get plenty of carbs. I'm not necessarily saying to avoid all the 'bad' stuff, but maybe try to drop a tablespoon of butter on your mashed potatoes or find some balance by incorporating roasted vegetables.  Protein, fat and vegetable will also help keep you more satiated and signal when you're full.

3. Chew Your Food Slowly 

It takes 20 minutes to reach satiety. Not to mention, in order to digest your food, your body must be in a relaxed state. If we chew our food quickly without allowing the brain to register we are eating, enzymes that help digest our food are not released. If we are not digesting our food properly, this causes a lot of bacteria to accumulate in the stomach from maldigested proteins, fats, and carbs.

Be thankful for your food - say a blessing, take deep breaths, put your fork down between each bite. This well allow for digestion to take its natural course. 

4. Stay Hydrated

Feelings of thirst are often mistaken for feelings of hunger in the body. Water plays a key role in digestion and allowing your body to detox. If you're going to take away any tips from this list, please make sure you are drinking water!

Read my article on water here to learn more about its many roles, what individualized amount is right for you, and how much water to consume after drinking any coffee, tea, juice or alcohol. 

5. Avoid the Self-Blame Game, Follow an 80/20 Rule

Guys, no one ever gets anywhere by playing the self-blame game. It's a holiday. You're with family and friends and you're allowed to enjoy it. Guilting yourself will not make you feel any better. However, I do think it's important to follow an 80/20 rule.

  • Mashed Potatoes with full-fat cream and real butter are better than a sweet potato casserole covered in marshmallows. 
  • Coconut milk ice cream is better than Ben & Jerry's 
  • Sharing a small slice of pie is better than having two large slices of pie 

Be mindful, actively choose what you want to eat, and try to balance it with other healthy options.  

6. Bring the Dessert

And if all else fails, bring the healthy option! I say specifically dessert, because this is where most feel they have their "downfall".  It is not your lack of willpower that leaves you going for several pieces of cookie or cakes. Sugar is addicting. So, if you're someone who feels like sugar is something you can't limit, I definitely recommend bringing your own dessert. 

Look for recipes that use raw honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar as their sweetener. This is easiest when searching for "Paleo Desserts" 

Take this Paleo, Grain Free Pumpkin Pie  for example my friend and fellow Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Carrie Vit made over at Organically Delicious

 

7. Make Time for Self-Care

The holidays can be an extremely stressful time for everyone. Just remember to take time for yourself. Whether it's 15 minutes alone in your room, meditation, going on a walk, taking a nap, or enlisting help in others, remember that if you put yourself first it can help enrich the time you spend with family and friends. You're less stressed, less rundown, more cheerful, more present, more conversational and more joyful. 

8. Get Enough Sleep

This kind of branches of the umbrella of self-care. Making sure you get enough sleep is so so important. We are much more capable of handling stress and giving our bodies time to detox when we prioritize sleep. I always recommended at least 8 hours or at least some time to take a nap leading up to the big day.

9. Get Up & Move

Most people set high expectations for a workout and think it has to be 60 minutes for it to even count. That is NOT true. Even a simple walk outside will help get the digestive tract moving, get you some fresh air, and maybe more time with family or hey, without em! haha whichever you feel is necessary.

Also, check out my article Tips to Eat, Drink, and Enjoy Your Fourth to find two easy, effective 20-minute workouts! 

And last, but of course not least...alcohol 

10. Watch Your Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol converts to sugar and is stored in the muscle, liver and fat cells, so it can throw your blood sugar off balance. Alcohol also creates a heavy burden on the liver, so it's important to take these tips into consideration to stabilize blood sugar and increase the antioxidant rich properties in the beverages you are consuming. 

  • Consume alcohol after a meal to lessen the blood sugar impacts 
  • Always alternate alcohol with water to stay hydrated and lessen the hangover 
  • Add a lime to your drink. Limes are highly alkalizing and also help with insulin sensitivity. 
  • Add a sparking mineral water to your drink to provide extra minerals. The carbonation also helps increase the absorption of alcohol, so that way you don't end up drinking as much
  • Add natural sweeteners like stevia, all-natural carbonated waters, or coconut water to avoid refined sugars and the inevitable blood sugar dip 

Tips on What Alcohol To Drink -  

  • Vodka derived from potatoes, tequila, and wood-aged spirits like whiskey, brandy, scotch or cognac are better for balancing blood sugar. 
  • A sparkling white wine or dry champagne like prosecco is lower in sugar. The drier the better, which means less sugar. 
  • Wine is high in resveratrol, which is proven to fight cancer, help lower blood pressure and promote good heart health, however, organic wines are better as grapes are highly treated with pesticides. Avoiding cheap wines will also certainly result in less of a hangover.
  • Try to avoid the beers and mixed drinks with added sugar 
  • And of course if you're not a drinker, you could also check out Mark's Daily Apple for some Mocktails ;)

I hope you all found these tips helpful! What's most important above ALL else is to just be grateful and enjoy time with family! Always take time to appreciate the little things in life that we often take for granted. 

If you have comments or questions feel free to post in comments section! Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Holiday's, Everyone! Stay tuned for my next holiday post closer to Christmas time.

In Abundant Health,

Ali Boone, RD, LD, NTP

Balanced Nutrition Tips To Actually Enjoy Your Fourth! (Plus easy recipes!)

Let's be honest, we all want to enjoy the good food and drinks on holidays spent with family & friends, especially on the Fourth of July. 

But what are some ways we can still enjoy the fun, food, and drinks without feeling the guilt? Well I am here to bring you three days of helpful tips have fun and still keep your health & wellness goals in mind leading up to the Fourth! 

Why don't we start by wiping the 'guilt' off the table. It is a holiday after all, and we all should be able to enjoy ourselves!

Read on to learn more about some key nutrition tips to enjoy yourself and avoid blowing your fourth completely out of the park! Check back in tomorrow to read about some easy drinking tips! 

 

1. Eat Before You Go 

Fasting all day like it's Thanksgiving is not a good idea. It will only cause your blood sugar to drop and leave your body craving more. Make sure you get in a well-rounded meal in the morning before you spend the entire day eating and drinking with friends. Keep the protein high (2 eggs + breakfast meat) and be sure to add some kind of fiber (aka vegetables) so your meals holds you over for a few hours.  It's easy to snack all day when you haven't had a meal in the morning, and these snacks tend to add up far more than one meal. 

2. Bring Something To The Party

There are tons of easy healthy, yet tasty options you can bring to the party. Healthy doesn't always have to be flavorless and boring. What's something you often indulge in that isn't quite healthy, but could easily change to be make a little healthier? There's also a ton of great healthy options that you might make only on special occasions (i.e chicken & veggie kabobs, guacamole with carrots & celery) Check below for some recipe suggestions! 

3. Eat Mindfully & Slowly 

Be conscious of how quickly you're eating your food.

If you didn't read my last post on how eating slowly can improve digestion and alleviate bloating,  check it out here.

How often do we inhale our food before we even realize it's gone? I know I've been there.

SLOW. IT. DOWN. Are you taking deep breaths? Are you chewing your food completely?

If we don't sufficiently chew our food, it will overload the digestive system and this will lead to more gas, bloating, and digestive discomfort. 

Trust me when I say, slowing it down will help immensely. However, making sure you are eating a nice balanced meal instead of saving up for your feast will also help you eat more slowly. 

When we skip meals, our blood sugar drops and then we get hangry. This stay of deprivation actually causes your body to go into fight or flight mode and crave the most immediate form of energy aka carbs. There is no "willpower" at this point. 

This is why eating before you go and eating mindfully are two important tips the tendency to overindulge at bay.

4. Drink Water! 

Did you know the recommended amount of water for every individual is 50 percent of your weight in ounces? 

That means if you're 150 pounds, you should be consuming about 75 ounces.

This does not include all the water depleting beverages we drink like coffee, alcohol, soda, tea and juice.

Water plays a role in: 
•    Transporting Nutrients
•    Regulating Body Temperature
•    Removing Waste
•    Flushing Toxins
•    Lubricating joints
•    Releasing Excess Body Fat
•    Normalizing Blood Pressure
•    Stabilizing Blood Sugar & Insulin Levels

These are just of a few of the many benefits of water. I highly recommend drinking at least a 8 oz of water between any beverages listed above. If you're not drinking, it's going to be hot so try to have at least 8 oz every hour.  

Want to read more about the benefits of water? Check out The #1 Most Underemphasized Healing Agent

Recipes

Here's a Great Creamy Coleslaw Recipe: 

Ingredients: 

1/2 green cabbage

1/2 purpose cabbage 

2 cups shredded carrots 

1/4 c white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) 

1/2 tsp sea salt 

1/2 tsp black pepper 

1/2 tsp celery seed

1/2 tsp garlic powder 

1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise

 

Instructions: 

1.   Dice or shred both heads of cabbage 

2.   Place into a large bowl with shredded carrots. Mix well. 

3.   Add in vinegar and mayonnaise 

4.   Add in all seasonings and mix until cabbage and carrots are fully coated

5.   Cover and place in the fridge for an hour. Ready to serve! 

 

Here's a Simple Chicken Kabobs Recipe

Ingredients: 

1-1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces 

3 tbsp Coconut Aminos (or Gluten-Free Tamari) 

2 tbs raw honey 

1 tbs apple cider vinegar 

1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

1/4 tsp garlic powder 

1/2 red onion chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1 bell peppers cut into 1-inch pieces)

Fresh pineapple cut into small pieces 

 

Instructions: 

1.   In a small bowl, mix coconut aminos, honey, apple cider vinegar, ginger and garlic powder. Feel free to make extra if you want to keep half the marinade to pour over the chicken after cooked. Pour the marinade and chicken into a ziploc bag and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours. (If using wooden skewers, be sure soak in water for 30 minutes)

2.   Pre-heat the grill to medium high heat. Alternate the chicken, tomatoes, pineapple and onion. Brush the chicken with remaining marinade from the bag. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until juice runs clear. Turn skewers occasionally to ensure chicken is cooked evenly. 

Here something simple I did for the Fourth last year! 

 

I hope you found these tips and recipes useful! Want to read more tips to enjoy your Fourth? 

Check out my post on tips of drinking over the holiday here!

And if you want some quick, easy 20 minute workouts to get out of the way before your enjoy yourself, check here

In Abundant Health,

Ali