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Tips to Successfully Navigate a Non-Paleo Holiday Spread

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by Angela Gallardo in Articles, Holiday

When it comes to holiday dinners, we can tend to be a bit all-or-nothing.

(I know I’ve done this many times.)

We’re either starving ourselves to deprivation and nibbling on the baby carrots from the veggie platter or we’re saying to hell with it and piling our plates high with rolls and pie.

A statistic I read recently stated that the average woman eats 3 times the normal daily calories on Christmas day. I have yet to verify this stat but from personal experience, it doesn’t sound too far from the truth, right?

Since I know a 100% Paleo holiday meal is out of the question for most people, I propose an approach that falls somewhere in between the above scenarios. Setting a small boundary or two can go a very long way towards preventing a binge. And bonus: limiting the amount of self-loathing after the festivities are over.

A Few Strategies

Fit in your normal meals. It’s the holidays and you have family all over your house, but yes, you can still cook a balanced breakfast! Eating in a normal pattern for meals outside of the “big gatherings” will motivate you to make better choices when the temptation is higher. Plus you’ll feel better and won’t be starving (which can lead to poor choices).

Contribute. If you aren’t the main host of the holiday meals, make at least one dish to bring that you know is nourishing and fits within the parameters your body needs. Bringing your entire meal can feel ostracizing and take the fun out of the celebrations. But having just one healthful dish to help fill you up will allow you to enjoy the other dishes without going too far off the deep end. (If you need ideas, see here.)

Hydrate. This one kind of goes without saying. Allowing your body to get dehydrated can lead to poor food choices, as hunger/full signals can get dulled. Especially if alcohol is involved, stay on top of your water consumption so you’ll feel better and more clear-headed overall.

Keep an eye on portions. While I’m not a huge fan of being restrictive on calories, I think this one can be very helpful in times of celebratory gatherings. If you chose to indulge in the various grain-, sugar-, etc-based foods that are readily available, you’ll (generally) find that allowing yourself smaller portions will bring more overall satisfaction. Rather than piling it high, sample a little bit of everything and you’ll feel happy you enjoyed the food but didn’t make yourself sick.

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