Posted on November 22, 2021
Healthy holiday eating: Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
From our experts: Jessi Holden is a registered dietitian/nutritionist at Mary Free Bed.
Have you ever pulled out a recipe for a holiday but felt like you shouldn’t make it because it’s “not healthy?” Well, I’ve got some tips for enjoying your favorite holiday foods without the worry or guilt!
- Remember that our health is determined by a multitude of factors and enjoying indulgences over the holidays is not going to be detrimental to it. It’s better to enjoy the food and move on.
- How do you enjoy it and move on? Take guilt out of the picture. When you identify a food as “bad or unhealthy or naughty” you start to crave it more. When you do eat it, you’re more likely to overeat. Why? Because you’ve told your brain it’s forbidden and it doesn’t know when you’ll allow yourself to enjoy it again, so it tells you to enjoy it, a lot of it, now.
- Remove guilt by allowing all food in your life without judgement. This is much easier said than done! Start with the idea that there are no good/bad foods. Yes, certain foods do more for your body than others but judging yourself only leads you back to the guilt-and-overeating cycle I mentioned earlier.
- Eat normally on the days leading up to and the day of the event. “Saving calories” so that you can eat more of a holiday meal results in overeating and feelings of guilt later on. It can also make you “hangry” and no one needs extra emotions like that during the holidays!
- Enjoy your food whole heartedly! It’s so easy to eat snacks and meals without thinking. Try to slow down during the meal and check in with yourself. How does the food taste? Are you hungry or feeling full? Seconds now are totally fine if you want them, or remind yourself you can have more later.
- Lastly, “shoulding” will not help you enjoy holiday meals. For example, “I shouldn’t eat the pumpkin pie” results in you eating the pumpkin pie but unable to enjoy it due to guilt. Allow yourself to eat it with full and unconditional permission, savor it and move on.
Need a recipe to set up a meal for after the holidays? This one goes great with leftover turkey or stuffing as well!
All of these are great concepts but take practice and support. If you need one-on-one guidance with a registered dietitian, ask your doctor for a referral to Outpatient Nutrition Services. Happy Holidays!