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7 Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Eating on a Restricted Diet
The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. They also can be very stressful, especially if you aren’t feeling well and are following a special diet! I’ve been following a restricted diet for several years now and it’s become second nature to me. Below are seven tips for stress-free holiday eating on a restricted diet, where I share some techniques that will help remove “food stress” from holiday celebrations.
1. Skip the Extras. Before the sit-down meal determine which foods that are and which aren’t appropriate for your diet. Load up on the foods you can eat and skip the extras. Using a turkey dinner as an example, I’d eat the turkey without gravy, serve myself extra vegetables, and have a large salad with oil and vinegar. Fill up so you are full so you don’t feel deprived. This will help you to avoid eating something you are sensitive to.
2. Bring a Meal or Two with You. If you feel disappointed by having to skip the extras, find out beforehand what’s on the menu and then bring a meal or two that will compliment it. This will alleviate the concern that there will be nothing for you to eat and the sense of deprivation that can come with having to decline much of what’s being served.
3. If You are Hosting, Serve Meals that Comply with Your Diet. As I always point out, my mom created the meals in our book with taste to be her main priority. So any meal made from our book can be served without disclaimer. From appetizer to entrée to side dishes to desserts you can have a wonderful holiday meal that you and your guests will enjoy. If you have a real sweet tooth, most certainly bring a dessert that you can enjoy, which will further help you to avoid cheating.
4. Just Say No Thank You! When someone asks you if you’d like some French onion potato chips and a glass of beer, just say “no thank you!” There really is no urgent need to explain why you are declining the offer and this eliminates the need to try to explain your food restrictions or to sidetrack the conversation you were having to one about your health.
5. Educate Yourself on What’s Acceptable. What would be worse: corn chips or bbq chips; onion dip or salsa? If you are tolerating night shade foods and corn, certainly have a few corn chips with salsa over the bbq chips and dip. A good rule of thumb is the less processed the snack, the better. Or better yet, have a handful of nuts. The protein and healthy fats will fill you up and a nut is a whole food!
I don’t recommend cheating, but if you are going to anyway than tips 6 and 7 can be of help.
6. If You Must Cheat, Do it Right. You may be thinking “But it’s the holidays and I’ve been so good for so long, so I’m just going to cheat!” I know my big Italian family may be unique in some ways, but I have to assume that at your family holiday events there will be some made-from-scratch desserts that will are made from whole food ingredients. This will help you to avoid eating artificial ingredients that come along with something like red and green M&Ms! See tip 7 for further input.
7. Reward without Abandonment. If you’re going to indulge yourself choose just one or two of your favorites that you’ve been so good to eliminate from your diet and enjoy it, without the guilt! Rewarding yourself with one or two treats is a much better method than falling fully completely off the wagon in all your food choices for the day. This may seem like a bah-humbug , but do consider the allergens in a treat beforehand. If you’re sensitive to dairy, gluten, eggs and avoid cane sugar, for instance, you may not want to eat something that contains all four. So skip the homemade layer cake with ice cream, but perhaps indulge in the chocolate covered strawberries (just has dairy and sugar). You will still enjoy a little treat and your body will thank you for the restraint.
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