For my birthday this year I had a party at the beginning of November. This started the holiday season for me, perhaps a little bit earlier than for most. This beautiful time of the year is centered around family, getting together with friends and celebrating in your community. At the same time it is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed during the holidays. There is so much to do, buy, cook, drink, and eat.
Are holidays and health opposites? Why do we postpone our health commitments till January? Does it have to be this way? Is it possible to have healthy holidays? As a certified Health Coach I get these questions often and I encourage people to consider their health first. With some planning and the right attitude anything is possible.
Health is not a destination to arrive at in a month or two. Habits and everyday choices shape our health. Only with permanent change can one expect permanent results. I recommend to my clients to define what health means to them and write down at least five reasons why it is important. During the holidays when temptations are everywhere, a list helps to stay focused. You do not have to compromise your health by consuming unhealthy foods even if it was made with love and the best intentions. Express your appreciation and love to your friends and family in other ways: attention is an invaluable gift!
Once committed to the right attitude, the rest is fun and easy! With confidence you can now begin your plan for the holidays. Putting everything together for a gathering of friends and family could be a daunting task. Yet, with a mindset on health you will find plenty of ideas and possibilities. Based on my recent experience of preparing for my birthday party, I have put together a few tips to help make your holidays less stressful and more healthful.
- Keep it simple with fruits! Fruits are the best snack, dessert, and even main course dish. With no cooking involved serving fruits saves you time and energy while providing great nutrition for you and your loved ones. I recommend serving small fruits such as grapes or cutting bigger fruits such as apples into smaller pieces to make it an easy bite size option.
- Be a role model for your family and friends by providing healthy tasty snacks and dishes. Create your own environment of healthy food so you do not have to worry about eating something unhealthy. If you are invited to a party, bring those snacks and dishes with you to always have a healthy choice available.
- Do not be afraid to experiment with new recipes and omit some dishes. Try to substitute traditional heavy dishes with a healthier version of the same dish or make something new. I decided not to have a birthday cake this year. I had a small serving of vanilla non-dairy ice cream with fruits instead. Birthday wishes and a candle were still a part of the celebration.
- Ask for help and delegate some of your responsibilities. Work together with someone you love. I had a friend help me fix everything for the party. We had fun together and were not exhausted by the time guests arrived. Involve your family or friends and make it fun!
- Be specific about what you would like your guests to bring. They will be glad to bring something you need and you will create a harmony of all the dishes, salads, and desserts.
- Relax and enjoy your company. Let go of little things you were thinking about doing but did not get around to. Concentrate on communicating with the people you love and building new positive emotional connections with them and good food. I forgot a couple of things, but this did not stop me form having a wonderful time.
I wish for you and yours to have a wonderful time this holiday season as well!