Food is certainly part of the holiday season and the center of many traditions this time of year. It’s inevitably a challenging time to maintain pure primal habits. However, there are some great strategies to keep you on track whether you are attending an event, heading to a party, or simply gathering with friends.
Here are 10 tips to help you enjoy this season and also maintain a healthy body and mind.
1) Focus on the people
Take pleasure in the people around you! That’s what makes the holidays special – being with friends and family. Enjoying the whole holiday experience can be much more fulfilling than food alone. Engage in conversation, the activities and good cheer.
2) Offer to bring a dish
If you are headed to someone else’s home for a social gathering, offer to bring a “paleo-friendly” dish to compliment the meal. If you are unsure of what will be served, bring a nutrient-packed side that will “get you through” the evening with plenty of substance.
3) Be the inviter
Invite people over to your house instead of going out to eat. Plan a menu that meets your needs and would also seem “normal” to a non-paleo connoisseur. This is also an opportunity to show friends who may question your way of eating that the food can be amazing and satisfying. If you enjoy entertaining, check out Gather by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason.
4) Eat before you go
Before you leave your house, enjoy foods that fit your lifestyle. Once at a social event, food will be less of a priority. You may still find good options at a party or gathering, staying social and enjoying tastes here and there if you choose. But, you won’t give-in to foods you would rather stay away from simply due to temptation from an empty stomach.
5) Be proactive
If you are headed to a restaurant, don’t be afraid to ask your server if they offer any gluten-free choices, or if you can make substitutions (such as extra veggies instead of pasta, or salad in place of a bun).
6) Intolerances or allergies
If you find that others are giving you a hard time about the choices you are making, let them know that you have discovered certain food intolerances and feel much better when you focus on meats, veggies and natural fats. You never have to use the word ‘paleo’ or ‘primal.’ And don’t be afraid to pull-out your allergy card at a restaurant – most places are happy to accommodate.
I don’t recommend skipping meals at home to “save up” for a holiday feast because being over hungry can lead to over-indulging on less healthful options. However, if you are at a social occasion and there is “nothing” to eat that is worth it to you, a little intermittent fasting may be the way to go.
8) Stay hydrated
9) Stay active
10) Choose foods that you LOVE!
If you are going to indulge in foods you don’t normally opt for, make sure they are worth it! Do you LOVE it? Or, are you just eating it because it’s there? Savor each bite; put your fork down in between; be fully present.
You may also choose to “paleo-fy” your favorite treats. A “paleo version” doesn’t necessarily make it a healthy version, however, it can be healthier and less costly for your gut. There are many paleo cookie, cake, pie, and drink recipes out there that could satisfy your cravings and your desire for a treat.
Remember, too, that if you do start to fall off the wagon, you can pick yourself back up at the next meal and move forward.