Do you often feel pressured to eat a certain way during the holidays? You’re not alone if you feel stressed about holiday food choices, so keep reading to learn how you can find balance this holiday season.
The holidays are a beautiful time to share a love of food and culture with friends and family. From family gatherings to social events with friends and co-workers, the opportunities for fun and excitement feel endless!
The holidays can feel overwhelming especially if you’re working on your relationship to food and make holiday food choices that fit your needs. Whether it’s pressure from loved ones, not having food around that you can control, or simply the frequency of social events.
Here we’ll walk through how you can navigate holiday food choices throughout the holidays so you can both enjoy yourself and eat in a way that’s aligned with your health and wellness goals.
Making Balanced Holiday Food Choices
Holidays and food go hand and hand. You can’t have one without the other!
The opportunity to share a love of food and culture at this time of year is truly a wonderful thing. But what happens when it becomes a little stressful? When do you feel overwhelmed by all of the events and eating situations? When your actions surrounding food aren’t aligning with your health and wellness values?
This is completely understandable and quite common with our Mindful Nutrition Method students too.
Here are common challenges for making balanced holiday food choices:
- Difficulty navigating so many social gatherings
- Being served food you’re not used to having
- Having no control over the food that’s available
- Peer pressure from friends or family members to eat a certain way
- More time spent on the enjoyment end of The Balance Spectrum than you would like
- and more!
If any of these difficulties resonate with you during the holidays, here’s how you can find balance and navigate your food choices at this time of year.
How To Navigate Holiday Food Choices Around Friends & Family
The following tools and mindsets can be extremely helpful when navigating eating throughout the holidays. Let’s walk through them one by one so you feel prepared this holiday season!
Communicate Your Needs
Communication is particularly important, especially when you find that you’re often in eating situations where there aren’t any food options that look good to you. Now what we’re not talking about here is restricting intake or creating food rules around holiday eating.
Instead, we’re talking about knowing what you enjoy and what you don’t particularly enjoy. Or, if you’re managing a particular food sensitivity or disease state that impacts your food choices.
In this case, your best bet is to be open and honest with the host or hostess. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to come in guns blazing saying that out hate their food and wouldn’t dare eat any of it! But instead, communicate your needs with positivity and excitement.
Explain that you’re so excited to come and celebrate the holiday, and would love it if you could bring a dish that you love and know others would enjoy, too. Or if you feel comfortable, you could even explain to the host or hostess that bringing something of your own along would make the event even more enjoyable for you!
Communication can make a world of a difference in holiday eating situations.
Set Healthy Boundaries
I know we’ve all experienced peer pressure with food before.
“You absolutely have to have some of this, I spent all day making it!”
“I know but you must try my dish, I know you’re going to love it. It’s different from the ones you’ve had before!”
Does this sound familiar? More often than not, peer pressure is done accidentally and without poor intent. So one of the best ways to respond to it is with positive boundaries.
Simply let the person know that despite the fact that you’re sure it’s absolutely delicious and you’d like to give it a try sometime, you’re already enjoying the dish that you have, or you’re possibly already full. Whatever the case may be!
Setting boundaries is how we communicate our personal wants and needs with others.
Build A Balanced Plate
In case you’re new to the NS Community and the Mindful Nutrition Method, the Foundational Five system is part of how we teach you to build balanced meals. It makes it easy for you to give your body the nourishment you need while having the flexibility to enjoy the foods you love without stressing about food.
The Foundational Five is made up of five elements of nutrition including Protein, Fat, Non-starchy Carbohydrates, Starchy Carbohydrates, and the Flavor Factor (which brings vibrancy, deliciousness, and enjoyment to your meals).
When you are intentional about referencing the Foundational Five to fill up your plate, you’ll be building more balanced meals throughout the holidays.
The keyword is intentional — not every meal during the holiday season needs to contain all elements of nutrition, but the intention to try your best is key and good enough.
When heading to the holiday buffet, dinner, or potluck table, run through this list in your mind to see if you can build your balanced plate: Protein + Starchy or Sugary Carbohydrate + Non-starchy Carbohydrate + Fat + Flavor Factor.
This will give you a place to start and ensure you’re eating in a balanced way that feels good to you.
Eat Intentionally & Mindfully
Part of making holiday food choices that align with us should include enjoyment!
Eating for nourishment and eating nutrient-dense foods is just as important as eating those foods you love just for the flavor, nostalgia, and tradition.
What’s even more important, is when you’re eating foods just for enjoyment, is to eat them intentionally and with mindfulness to get the entire experience.
When you don’t eat with intention or with mindfulness, you’re more likely to overeat, eat when you’re not even hungry, or eat foods that you don’t even really want or desire simply because they’re around you.
When you’re in these social eating scenarios, try your best to take a pause and check-in with the intention of that meal. Try to listen to your hunger and fullness cues, choose food items you truly enjoy and look forward to, and say no to the ones that really just don’t do it for you.
Being mindful allows you to enjoy yourself and prioritize both nourishment and enjoyment with your eating.
Maintain Balanced Eating Habits All Year Long
The holidays are just one example of many eating scenarios that you may encounter throughout the year.
If what we talked about today seems challenging, overwhelming, or you feel like you can’t do this alone, you don’t have to!
That’s why I created The Mindful Nutrition Method™ which a transformative online live experience with live group coaching, training and course materials, and a private community. Inside we teach our students how to create balanced eating habits for life that help you be free from food and diet obsession, maintain a balanced weight, cultivate a positive relationship with food and your body, and ultimately find joy in nourishing yourself.
Inside of the Mindful Nutrition Method™, we teach our students how to be mindful and navigate eating challenges throughout every phase of their lives.
Break Free From The Diet and Food Obsession Starting Now
You can watch our free masterclass to learn how to be more balanced with your food choices so you can be free from food and diet obsession, maintain a balanced weight, and cultivate a positive relationship with food and your body all year long.