Healthy Holiday Tips on Eating & Entertaining

So you’re on vacation and eating out at restaurants every night. Or your family is in town for the holidays and you have to cook for them. Or maybe you were asked to a dinner party. These scenarios can seem like bigger obstacles than they really are. Do you resign yourself to giving up your healthy eating habits to eat “normal people’s” food or do you force those normal people to eat like you?

You want to be healthy, but you can’t stop living your life, right? It’s all about making the best choices for you in that situation.  So if it means saying “No” to certain foods when those are the only choices available, then say “No” and see what happens. See how good you feel about yourself the next day.  I’m all about making good choices and not beating yourself up.  If you do eat something that you know is not a good choice for you, then be in gratitude for that experience and forget about it.  DO NOT beat yourself up about it.

So what if you are the odd one out and choose to say “No”? If the majority is eating “normal food”, it can seem like a hard choice to decide what to eat.  Below are some tips to help you get past all that.

My first main tip for entertaining is to always make sure that you’re taken care of first and that you have everything that’s healthy and a good choice for you to eat.  Please do not make the mistake of eating something that’s going to harm you because you feel badly about telling someone.  You can explain that you have a health issue that you are working to resolve and you need to avoid it.  If you’re just beginning on this journey, you might want to opt-out of having the actual holiday at your home to take some of the pressure off.

Some examples of things you can try are appetizers like guacamole or hummus with vegetables, maybe even some gluten-free/grain-free crab cakes as a real treat.  Then for dinner make a huge beautiful salad and tons of veggies as the main part and center of the meal. You can add a piece of fish or quinoa to go with them.  You could even make gluten free pasta if you ‘re not in the health crisis phase.

Second, you can take care of what everybody else will eat. You can order their dishes from a restaurant or deli, someplace that’s not tempting for you.  Also don’t order things you love!  That will help to make your temptations less tempting.   Or you can make more of what you’ll be eating – maybe your company will be open to eating it.  I’ve discovered that our families are more and more open to our way of eating.  Some are even dealing with different diets as well, including gluten free.

In time, you can get back to creating dishes for others.  A perfect example of this was this past Easter when some of Kevin’s family and my family came and stayed for the weekend—16 people!  Kevin and I made a whole meal that was gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar free.  It included crab cakes, sweat potato burgers, fish, organic Turkey, quinoa, tons of veggies and salads. Once again I made sure to have things that we eat.  They all raved about the meal.  We announced at the end of the meal that it was gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar free.  They never missed it and were amazed.  Most people can’t tell the difference!

Third is to eat a lot before the company arrives or before you leave to visit someone else.  Having a huge veggie based, vegan, protein smoothie before the doorbell rings is a great way to fill yourself and squash those cravings before they happen.

Fourth, if you’re really tempted, ask yourself, “Is it really worth it?”  Is it something that you can have at another time?  Another tip is to ask someone else, who is fully supportive of you eating healthy to help you out.  Ask them if it’s so fantastic and amazing, a “once in a lifetime”, just can’t miss it treat that you absolutely have to try.  It’s very rare that I get a resounding yes.  This way you won’t feel like you’re missing out on something, you could always have it at another time. I think you’ll find quickly that there’s not much that you’ll miss.  It’s harder in the beginning but I assure you that it gets easier and easier over time.  Now, it doesn’t even phase me and I don’t feel the cravings to eat what others are eating!

Fifth, if I’m bringing food to someone else’s house, I still make what I can eat. For example, I’ll always ask if I can bring a salad.  Sometimes we make gluten free/grain-free crab cakes or a fish dish (see delicious recipe below).

Sixth, for a quick and even unexpected visitor, you can make gluten free/grain free pasta with homemade sauce that you keep in the freezer with a large salad.  Always have lots of salad staples on hand. If you are able to eat meat, you can keep organic, grass fed turkey meatballs in the freezer too. And you know what? Coconut flour and almond flour are great replacements for flour, just adjust quantities as necessary. Coconut sugar can be used sparingly instead of most sugars, providing you are not in a health crisis.

So you see, I no longer have any concerns about entertaining or eating differently from everyone else and I hope these tips help you to do the same.

Remember, we need to make our care the highest priority if we’re going to be healthy enough to take good care of everyone else!  Once we do, we can concentrate our energy on entertaining others or being a good guest without feeling lousy or deprived and instead feeling great and fulfilled in the process.  Then you can party on and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!

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