How do I stay healthy over the holidays?
I don’t know… you tell me?
There was a time when I would have been adamantly sticking to some sort of diet or strict exercise regimen during the holidays.
But nowadays, I truly think that the best way to be “healthy” during this time of the year is to know yourself.
Know the foods you enjoy, and enjoy them.
Know the foods that trigger you, or make you feel bad, or that you simply don’t want… and don’t eat them.
We get so caught up in what we “should” or “shouldn’t” be eating that we forget to check in with ourselves. How our bodies are feeling.
What our mental state is.
I’ve mentioned it before, but the first time my binging came into play was Christmas break of my freshman year in college.
If you want to hear the full story, it’s on this video:
So, yeah… I’m not particularly fond of telling clients or passers-by to “yes eat X” and “don’t eat Y.”
Listen to your body and you’ll make the right call. Check out the How do you Health? Podcast Christmas episode for more on this.
Feed yourself with things other than food this holiday season
The social aspect of the holidays is key to helping you enjoy the food.
It sounds crazy, but I was terrified of being around people when I was in the middle of my disordered eating phase.
Yeah - I’d hide to eat my food. Which is a telltale sign that the person’s probably not dealing with their food in a healthy manner.
Since working to get away from that, I’ve learned that eating some of those “indulgence” foods actually becomes a lot less painful to my health when I do it around others.
If I want that slice of pie, I take one slice. And I eat it while talking to someone who’s at the party with me.
That way, I take the time to savor not only the food, but the conversation.
I used food to hide my loneliness for years. When I started letting people back into the equation, the urge to binge severely decreased.
Don’t get me wrong - it’s a switch that takes years to flip & retrain. But it can happen.
How do I balance healthy + fun food for Christmas?
THAT is a much better question, me-pretending-to-be-you! Very good.
I can’t tell you what to eat for you. There are treats I absolutely love that I’ll sometimes make exceptions for even though they’re not the best for me (hellooooo, tamales!)
I know the health implications of my consuming those things & I can prepare as needed.
As such, I know that for me, it’s much easier to enjoy the holidays if most of what I eat is Paleo, or at least cuts the allergens that the Paleo diet cuts.
That way, if I do decide to eat something that’s not-so-great, I don’t have a full-blown gluten hangover or acne attack. It’s just that I don’t feel as great as normal the next day, which is sometimes worth it for me when it’s a special food.
So what would be my perfect Paleo Christmas Day menu?
Let’s get to it!
The Perfect Paleo Christmas Day Menu
Paleo Christmas Day Breakfast
Breakfast is always weird in our house on Christmas Day, specifically. Like… we actually cook and eat it together?
We rarely do that any other time of year.
After presents, we usually cook a pretty big breakfast to enjoy together… on top of some of the chocolate that was inevitably in the stockings.
I will for sure be starting with a Flu Season Mocha while we’re opening presents. No need to wait on that caffeine! ;)
To satisfy the sweet and savory food lovers, I’d have a loaf of Meyer Lemon Breakfast Bread ready to go.
Make this on Christmas Eve, when you’re already preparing stuff for the big dinner tonight anyway - you’ll be thankful you did on Christmas morning.
You can grab an easy slice of that while you’re cooking up the savory stuff - a huge batch of Green Eggs and Ham, of course.
I love this recipe because it’s stupid-easy and looks like you made magic with it.
Kids will love it, adults won’t notice the hidden veggies, and it’s just an all-around win-win. Plus, there’s bacon involved.
That’s how you really get people on board.
I seriously love this breakfast game plan because it’s not heavy, but it feels special and is absolutely delicious,
You can thank me later.
A Healthy Lunch for Christmas Day
Some families do early dinner for Christmas, but mine typically ends up eating around 5pm.
So, I always try to get more veggies into my system before we meet up with the extended family juuuuust to make sure I hit those markers for myself.
Plus, if you’ve already enjoyed that breakfast and know you’ve got a big dinner + dessert heading your way… it just kinda makes sense to go with a salad for lunch.
This can be kept Paleo by leaving out the legumes, or go ahead and throw them in if you like! I used to avoid legumes like the plague, but now I find that their resistant starch actually makes me feel better.
The gut likes what the gut likes - and gut flora respond really well to resistant starch.
Learn how I build the perfect salad every time:
A Paleo Christmas Dinner - it doesn’t need to be tough!
Okay, I’ve been obsessed with this recipe for a long time now because it’s literally so easy and the best way to make people think you’re a good cook without actually having to be a good cook.
It’s from my friend Anne at Grass Fed Salsa, and it’s absolutely genius.
You get a 2-for-1 deal from it… check this Crispy Skin Roasted Chicken & Veggies dish out:
Pair this with a lower-carb veggie (in case anyone is keto in the family, or just simply watching their carb intake) and you’ve got a well-rounded meal in two simple dishes!
And I promise: it’s Actually Good Cooked Broccoli!
And finally… the Paleo Christmas Desserts. What you’re really here for.
Dessert is always my favorite thing to make.
Maybe because it’s the easiest way to show people that healthier options don’t have to be boring.
I make thinks like this all the time for family events, and I call it a “gateway drug” to health.
They just can’t believe how good these things taste without making you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck after indulging! Crazy!
I always try to hit a few flavors when planning dessert.
Those roll-out classic Christmas sugar cookies are a must, of course. And my grandma always makes the best fudge that rings in the season for our family.
Luckily, Anne created a beautiful roll-out sugar cookie recipe that’s Paleo and AIP, so we can all enjoy it!
And I was able to figure out a way to recreate grandma’s fudge recipe to the T, sans the gross corn-syrupy crap.
Enjoy the food, feel good, and remember the real reason for this time.
Yeah, it’s easy to get caught up in the weeds of food and how we look.
But remember: what’s most important during these holidays is spending time with those you love, and just checking in to make sure you feel good.
Outside of that - all else is just extra. :)
I hope you have a fabulous Christmas - and tell me if you make anything from this menu! I’m sure it’ll be a hit.