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The holiday season brings a lot of fun, laughter, and new memories with friends and family, oh, and delicious, decadent food.
With friendsgivings, holiday work parties, and white elephant gift exchanges on top of the regular events, there’s no shortage of opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry.
Trying to eat whole food plant-based can throw an obstacle into those plans, and can take away from the joy if not prepared. In this case, it’s necessary to prepare and have a plan so that you can take part in the fun but also stick to your goals. That’s why I’ve included some tips to help you stay on track but are also flexible enough to not exclude you from enjoying the holidays.
- Offer to bring a dish. If you’re invited to an event and you know the host, offer to bring a dish (or several) that you know you’ll be able to eat—that way it takes the stress off them. Here are several recipe ideas that you could bring. If it’s a big work event, ask who’s in charge of planning if they can request a dish from the caterer to be vegan friendly. My work was always so nice to accommodate at these events and some of the caterer’s did an amazing job—even the dessert was vegan!
- Bring extra. If you want to stick 100% to whole food plant-based it’s best to bring your own but undoubtedly people will be curious and want to try it. Make sure to bring extra so you have enough to eat but can also share. It’s also a great way to lead by example and share this lifestyle with others who may be curious.
- Stay true to you. If you want to stick to it 100%, do it! Have a plan, stick to it, and enjoy it. There’s always going to be people inquiring or not understanding, but it’s your life and your choice, you don’t have to explain anything. On the other side, if you’d rather be more relaxed with your eating and not stick to whole plant foods the whole time, that’s ok too! Plant-based doctors agree that it’s what you eat consistently that affects your overall health, so one day won’t destroy your health or progress.
I also put together some general tips for eating healthy during the holidays that go beyond just sticking to a whole food plant-based diet. These will help you stay on track with fitness goals but allow you to enjoy the holidays without worrying about overindulging.
- Don’t skip meals. A lot of times we think we’re saving calories for the big event by skipping meals, but in actuality, arriving hangry is a recipe for disaster as you’ll be less likely to control your cravings and negate the calorie savings altogether from earlier. Instead, make sure your meals are fiber-packed and full of healthy plant proteins and fats throughout the day to help control cravings later.
- Assess all the options before putting anything on your plate. This allows you to take a second to decide what’s actually worth eating. If they’re aren’t a lot of options that fit whole food plant-based, again, don’t stress about being perfect.
- Salad first. There’s typically always a salad or veggie platter served. Set a goal to eat those first, then go for the other stuff after so you at least get a good amount of fiber.
Hope you found these tips helpful! It can be a challenge to navigate the holidays as a plant muncher, so just remember what’s most important is who you’re with, not what you eat. Happy Holidays!