Holiday Eating Strategies

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Happy Thanksgiving!  I know I’m a little late to the game, but *phew*  Thanksgiving was a whirlwind around here!

Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving are always parent teacher conferences, which means late nights at school– legit 12 hour days.  On top of that, this year I missed both my classes because, yep, I have class on Monday and Tuesday nights.  So I had to take a makeup test on Wednesday before we left town for the holiday!  We traveled a little farther than normal this year and got to see more family than we usually do.  Then it was home to get our real life back on track before it was back to the grind this week.

Reliving that makes me exhausted all over again!

Anywho….the holidays can be a stressful time for those of us who are trying to eat clean and healthy.  It seems that everywhere you turn is another high fat, high sugar treat calling your name.  So with that:  here are five tips to not just survive, but actually enjoy the holidays.

1.  Enjoy it— remember that what happens between Christmas and Thanksgiving will have a much larger effect on your health than what happens between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  So my first tip for the holidays is to enjoy that piece of pumpkin pie, have an extra cookie, and drink that eggnog.  It only comes once a year.

2.  Don’t get hangry–  If you are anything like me, when you go too long without eating you get cranky and short tempered.  And then when you finally get food in front of you, you overeat to compensate.  During the holidays, meal schedules can fly out the window.  Cocktails, finger foods, and one gigantic meal in the middle of the day can wreak havoc with your blood sugar.  Keep a handy stash of healthy snacks at home or in your car so that you can keep your blood sugar stable and prevent bingeing when you finally get to the party.
3.  Choose wisely–  What’s your favorite holiday treat?  What could you take or leave?  If it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without your mom’s sticky buns, have a sticky bun.  If you don’t love stuffing (dressing? filling?) but you eat it because it’s tradition- skip it this year.  Take an extra serving of the roasted vegetables and just a taste of jello salad.  The key here is to pick and choose so that you are making the best choice available at the time but aren’t feeling deprived (see tip 1).
4.  Work in a work out– You don’t have to run the turkey trot on Thanksgiving morning.  What about starting a new tradition this year:  Go ice skating with your family, have a ping pong tournament, or play backyard football.  If the family time is getting overwhelming, it’s also a good excuse to go for a solo run to get some alone time.
5.  Stress less–  Stress does weird things to our bodies.  That’s another post for another time, but for now know that it is important to keep holiday stress in check.  Online shopping, scheduling down time, not beating yourself up over the store bought pie that you brought to Aunt Millie’s:  all these things will help keep your holiday stress down and will help you enjoy the holidays more.
My favorite holiday food is Christmas cookies.  I don’t eat cookies for the majority of the rest of the year, but it just wouldn’t feel like the holidays with some Rudolph cutouts with a red-hot for his nose.  So this year, I am determined to enjoy the holidays by eating Rudolph’s nose.  And now you go enjoy that pumpkin pie.
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I’m Busy, and So Are You

Hi.  I missed you.  Did you miss me?15094977_10100843694132575_8133480127859346676_n

In theory, October is one of my favorite months of the year.  I love the leaves turning (they’ve been particularly spectacular this year), the cooler temperatures, and gearing up for the holidays.

In practice, October kicks my butt.  Every.Single.Year.  We are usually passing some sort of illness around the family (this year it was LICE.  Gag).  School is in full swing without a break in sight…just day after day after 15079047_10100843693493855_7578682746056025333_nday.  The days are getting shorter, so it doesn’t seem like we have as much time to get stuff done when we get home.  And did I mention that, to add insult to injury, October has the nerve to have 31 days?  I think we should all petition to have October and February switch places.

So here’s a recap of how my diet survives when life gets busy:

  1.  Prepping:  Thank God I canned some soups over the summer.  When it’s late; or I’m busy; or I haven’t had time to go to the bathroom that day, let alone think about dinner, I can go down to the basement and pull out a jar of my hard work.  The Italian sausage is awesome and I have to keep myself from just pulling a jar off the shelf every night.  The chicken enchilada…not so much.  But it is healthy and nourishing, and like Mom always said:  if you’re hungry, you’ll eat it.  Right?  (But I’m not making it again next year)15107199_10100843696003825_3609926102368654055_n
  2. Give myself some grace:  The world is not going to end if we eat store bought bread for a month.  And, for the month of October, I will be better person for it.
  3. Arrange my environment:  I try my hardest to only have healthy snacks on hand.  When emotions and stress are running high, it would be entirely too easy to reach for a handful of cookies instead of an apple.  So by eliminating that choice, I set myself up for success instead of failure.
  4. Disposable is my friend:  Crockpot liners.  Throw away casserole dishes.  Paper plates.  The only thing I have to wash is the pan I cooked dinner in.  This isn’t a permanent solution…but for the month of October, it will have to do.

*Breathe,* my friends.  October is over.  Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  Soon, we will be able to hunker down under our blankets and hibernate the winter away.