Navigating Christmas food made easy

Whatever plans you have for Christmas this year, sometimes it can be tricky to keep to a “healthy diet”, so here are my top tips to avoid the food fails AND food guilt!

Every year you say to yourself…”I’m not going to eat such and such or drink too much” and every year you feel guilty about not sticking to your word, not to mention feeling bloated and yuck.

If you feel this type of “food anxiety” you are not alone, many people feel pressured to eat certain things or drink alcohol when they really didn’t want to because either the Christmas dinner was prepared by someone else or maybe you didn’t want to stand out to be “that person” with the food intolerances. I’m here to say, please don’t beat yourself up and feel guilty about food choices this Silly Season. Maybe you have worked hard on your health this year or have recently decided to make some changes and you don’t want to slide backwards but we also don’t want you stressing that your missing out on all the fun of are going to offend that family member if you don’t eat their trifle. (Stress ain’t good for the digestive system either my friend!)

So what to do?

My tips for a festive yet healthy Christmas

  1. Self-compassion

    Setting the tone for your internal thoughts to be one of self-compassion. If you feel yourself going down the road of mentally beating yourself up for having a Christmas Mince Pie, then take a moment to be aware of that, check your thoughts, re-frame your thoughts and use a pattern interrupter such as affirmations or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or Tapping).
    Instead of “I’m so crap, I couldn’t even say no to a Chrissy Pie” to “I enjoyed that Pie, now I will nourish my body with wholefoods next."
  2. Crowd out the “Naughty List” with the “Nice Fresh Wholefood List”

    I know that pavlova is tempting but if you’ve filled up on all the yummy fresh summer produce first, wow…your taste buds might just say no thanks to the dessert. Loading up on all those festive summer salads is great but don’t forget the protein.
    Have a decent serve of protein at each meal…especially breakfast. Protein keeps us fuller for longer and helps to stabilize our blood sugar which lessens the sugar cravings.
  3. Have your own non-negotiable "no-go" foods

    You know your body the best, you know that bread bloats you for example. So make bread one of your non-negotiable no-go foods for Christmas Day or all the Christmas parties. If you just have a couple of non-negotiables that won’t make things too restrictive then your less likely to “fall off the wagon”. Keep it simple.
  4. Have your language sorted beforehand

    You don’t need to tell the host that bread makes you bloat and cheese makes you gassy! Sometimes it can be helpful to let the host know prior that you’re gluten-free perhaps and that you’re happy to bring a plate. However on the day…here’s a line I love to use when you get asked “Why not?” …”I just prefer not to.”
    Simple right?
  5. Yeah, Nah to Alcohol

    If you choose to say Nah to alcohol, go you! There is unfortunately an old school culture that sometimes makes it tricky, however it does seem to be shifting. The prevalence of “trendy” non-alcoholic drinks is growing which makes it socially acceptable to choose to not drink, which is great!! Make sure you stay hydrated with water before and during and after your party.

Just remember you can have a very festive season, with a little prep and self-love and honoring your body and your choices…you do you!
If you need some tried and true wholefood meal and snack ideas make sure you check out my ebook resources here

Merry Christmas!

Written by Naturopath and Gut Health Specialist - Jane McClurg

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