The special foods.
Whatever holiday you are celebrating, many women fear the over indulgence, the weight gains and the regression of healthy habits they have worked so hard to establish.
Growing up in Israel, we used to go to my grandmother every Passover, and just the thought of the holiday feast will make me groan with pain. Yet I could not stop eating, I had to taste everything. There were well over 50 different dishes, which included appetizers, sides, mains and desserts. Many of them made by my grandmother and many brought along by my aunts.
So we ate.
We ate because the food tasted so good.
We are because it was my grandmother’s special holiday dishes.
We ate because we did not want to insult anyone by not eating what they prepared.
We were stuffed.
We were in pain.
But we kept on eating because the food kept coming.
Being on a healthy path, my holiday meals had to be made over.
Here are some tips that I follow and share with my clients. Hope they will be helpful for you.
IT IS OK TO OPT OUT
If you feel vulnerable
If you are trying very hard to create a healthier lifestyle
If you feel that participating in the holiday meals will be a trigger that will send you in an unwanted direction
It is ok to step back
To decline an invitation
To celebrate on a smaller scale
To just take the time to practice self care and self nourishment
HAVE A TASTE
If you really don’t want to eat something
But aunt Suzy made it “just for you”
Tell her how delicious her food is
Have a bite and tell her it is the best
Or say that you want to save it for when you are hungry again
So you can enjoy it more
And ask for some to take home
When people try to “push” food on you
It is usually because they want to be appreciated
So a few words of praise
Will usually do the trick
CREATE NEW TRADITIONS
The holidays seems to evolve around food
But they don’t have to be
Think of ways that you and your family can have fun and connect
Maybe a walk in the park together
A singing competition
A dance party
Everyone will have so much fun
And will start associating those activities with the holidays
THINK ABOUT THE LEFTOVERS
A heavy holiday meal can last for a few days
So try to:
Give your guests care packages of leftovers when they leave
Decline taking leftovers with you
Portion and freeze them right after the meal
MAKE VEGETABLES THE MAIN DISH
This is my number one tip to my clients:
For every non vegetable dish
Make 2 vegetable dishes
That way your table will look full, festive and colorful
But still be 2/3 vegetables
And fill up on vegetables first
That way you will get nutrient rich food and lots of fiber
You will be full and eat smaller portions of everything else
Look for healthier versions of holiday foods
Make grain and bean salads
Use lighter ingredients and swaps
Use whole and organic ingredients
When your food is high in nutrition content
You will be more satisfied
Will have less cravings later
And it will taste just as good, if not better!
My typical holiday meal usually include:
Broth based soup
2-3 colorful crisp salads
Animal protein dish (usually chicken or fish)
Vegetarian protein dish
Whole grain dish
3-4 cooked vegetable dishes
Fresh cut fruit
Dessert (usually brought by guests and leftovers go back home with them)
It is still a huge meal
But my guests always ask to take leftovers with them
And since it’s all healthy
I don’t mind the leftovers too
The following salad is a staple on my holiday table
It is beautiful, colorful, festive, super healthy and yummylicious (yes, it’s a word).
KALE/STRAWBERRIES/ORANGES SALAD IN BALSAMIC REDUCTION
Steam a bag of washed and chopped kale for 3 minutes
Arrange on a large serving plate
Sauté a sliced red onion in a little coconut oil for 5 minutes
Arrange in a circle around the kale
Slice strawberries and oranges and arrange in a circle on top of kale
To make the balsamic reduction:
Simmer 1/2 a cup of high quality balsamic vinegar until it’s reduced by half
It will become syrupy, sweet and tangy
Pour on top of the salad and serve
Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday!