- Contribute a healthy dish - If you are going to a holiday party and you know there isn't going to be anything there that fits your diet, offer to make a dish. Whether it's an appetizer, side or dessert, you can always find health conscious ideas on Pinterest. Check out Avena's Pinterest boards to find recipes for any food sensitivity or lifestyle.
- Don't skip meals - If you find yourself going for the unhealthy options at gatherings don't try to counter by skipping meals. By denying yourself healthy meals, you are actually increasing the likelihood of reaching for an unhealthy option later on. Fueling your body with a wholesome meal before a gathering reduces hunger cravings and provides you with more willpower to make better choices.
- Celebrate with people, not food - Throughout human history, we have come to associate celebration with food. We expect rich, decadent meals and treat ourselves with extra sweets. This has created an emotional attachment to the food we eat. This holiday season we challenge you to celebrate the gathering of people, not the food. Creating memories with family and friends will leave you feeling more fulfilled than food indulgences ever will.
- Limit drinks - While we would love to say avoid alcoholic drinks all together, we know that is not something everyone is willing to give up. Remember the holiday season lasts all month and the effects of alcohol can add up quickly. Alcohol will be the first to show any outward signs of bloating and inflammation in the body, making you really feel those holiday cheats. If you are going to indulge in a beverage this season, try to avoid the mixed drinks which are full of added sugar.
- Say no, politely - It can feel awkward to turn down food while at a party, especially when everyone wants you to try what they've made. While saying no the first few times is tough, it becomes easier the more you decline. People will also begin to respect your decision and ask less frequently the more confident you become with your answer.
- Feel satisfied, not stuffed - No one likes that bursting with food, icky feeling. We often find that the holiday season leads to over indulgence with that stuffed feeling lasting from one gathering to the next. The best way to combat over-eating is to pace yourself. Walk from room to room and keep interacting with new people. This will keep your mind occupied and too busy to keep reaching for food.
In the midst of the holiday season, diet habits built throughout the year often seem to fly out the window. The treats at gatherings look extra sweet and the month-long festivities allow bad choices to add up quick. So many of us allow our eating choices in December to spiral out of control with the thought that January will bring the opportunity to start fresh.
But don't let your hard work throughout the year be erased. Here are some of the tips and tricks we use to keep our health in focus during this season: