The holiday season is upon us, and that means parties, get-togethers, and lots of eating. This month of the year can bring unique challenges when you’re adopting a Clean Eating lifestyle, especially when you may not have full control while celebrating in the homes of others.
You may have felt a tinge of concern about offending your friends or family when you’re offered foods that don’t exactly fit within your plan to Eat Clean, or maybe you’re simply searching for more willpower, I get it! The good news is, you can absolutely rock your Clean Eating goals over the festive season without causing any extra stress in your life.
1. Plan Your Clean Eating Menu in Advance
Consider home your Clean Eating ‘headquarters’. Make the most of your home base by planning your clean menu in advance – having a clear picture of all the meals you’ll eat throughout the day will help you feel motivated and inspired. You can prep meals like instant oatmeal jars, pumpkin energy balls, FAST one-pan taco skillet ahead of time so when you’re hungry the choices are already in front of you. When you know you’ve got a busy week coming up, carve out some time to pre-cook and freeze some meals ahead of time.
A well-planned menu gives you no excuse to give in to cheat meals at home – and you give everyone in your household a great opportunity to Eat Clean with you!
2. Going Holiday Shopping? Eat Before You Leave!
Ever find yourself out running errands or doing a shop when suddenly you become so hungry your will power falls away? We’ve all been there. A simple solution is to eat a nourishing, protein rich meal before you go. Aside from being full which obviously makes all the difference, you’re also getting that wanted boost in willpower you need to feel strong and confident while you’re out in the hustle and bustle.
If you do wind up hungry while shopping like we all inevitably do from time to time, be prepared by seeking out the best place to grab a clean bite in your area. This way, you can go straight there and avoid other ‘tempting’ options along the way.
3. Prep ‘clean’ for long drives and holiday travels.
If you know you’ll be on the road for a while, pack some healthy food for yourself to avoid being stuck without options in between your destination. Grab a thermos and pack a hot soup or this one-pan white bean chili and whip up some protein balls for snacking like these no-bake almond joy protein balls. Flying requires a little extra planning because you can’t carry liquids with you, so choose things like veggies and hummus, apples, and salads. Just be sure you declare your food and check the guidelines for what foods you can and cannot bring into other countries.
4. Make Smart Choices When Eating Out.
If you dine out more than usual during the holidays, don’t pass up on the chance to bond with loved ones over good food – just make mindful food choices. Whenever possible, check out the menu of the restaurant you’ll be eating at in advance so you can create an option that works for you. Choose a dish that is either grilled, steamed or roasted rather than fried. You can also best watch your portions by ordering appetizer-sized dishes. Steer clear of fatty cuts and go lean instead. Remember you’ll always feel fuller faster if you choose protein over carbs, but one thing most people forget about is hydration. Your hunger meter is better regulated when you’re well watered, so drink enough throughout the day and at least an hour before you eat.
5. Bring a Healthy Dish to the Gathering!
Let others know you’re excited to participate and would like to bring a healthy dish to contribute. There are lots of recipes you can choose from that are great for sharing, like these:
6. Keep Your Fridge ‘Clean’.
Somebody brought a cake? Instead of keeping it in the fridge and eating it yourself, slice it up and let your guests take it home with them. Tidy up your fridge often and fill it with colorful, nutrient rich foods that inspire you when you look inside. Make sure you check our post on Food Prep and Kitchen Clean-up!
Part of the trick to Eating Clean as a lifestyle not just a temporary challenge is to make it an enjoyable experience. You’ve got to love what you’re doing otherwise your commitment will flounder. Choose foods you really like, prep inspiring meals ahead of time and post little sticky notes on your door with positive affirmations to remind you why you’re doing this in the first place.
Do you have any tips on healthy eating for the holidays?
Share them in the comments section below!