Food and family during the holiday season can be both a blessing and a curse. While it is customary for many families to gather around food during the holidays, it’s also customary for many families to bring their food shaming, unsolicited opinions with them and this can make holiday gatherings less enjoyable. Food is the way we nourish our bodies and can look differently for many different people. It can also be tied to how we feel about ourselves, especially when loved ones shame our choices. For this reason discussions about food can be very personal.
On episode two of our Wellthy Mind podcast, we talked with integrative nutrition coach, Trilanda Colbert about how to navigate those tough conversations about food and family during the holiday season, how to set boundaries so you can enjoy the holidays, some healthier alternatives to our holiday favorites and so much more.
Below are some of her tips for navigating the holiday season in a balanced way.
- Plan ahead. When it comes to preparing for people’s unsolicited opinions/comments or preparing to set healthy boundaries for yourself around food, plan ahead. Get mentally prepared to hear what you don’t want to hear and think about what you’re going to say to set that boundary ahead of time. Or, if you’d like to avoid overindulging, eat before you go, take your own smaller plate and/or drink a full glass of water before eating.
- No is a complete sentence. No, I don’t have to explain myself. No, I don’t want any of that. No, I don’t even have to go if it’s causing me too much stress.
- Get creative. If you’re dealing with loss this time of year or you’ve moved away from family, now is the time to get creative. Perhaps you can take baby steps to create new memories and traditions so that this time isn’t completely muddied by sadness and loneliness. Find small ways to incorporate joy and stay connected.
- Cook together. When encouraging family members to both try something new and be more considerate of others’ choices, try picking something completely different than you normally would to cook together.
- Sub out healthier alternatives when you can like organic cane sugar in your sweet potatoes instead of white refined sugar. Use chicken broth instead of bacon or ham hocks in greens and reduce your intake of processed foods.
Kei2Health Recipe and Holiday Swap Suggestions
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10-15 mins
Total Time: 15-20 minutes
- 2 cups whole cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- Juice of 2 medium oranges
- 1/4-1/2 cup organic cane sugar, maple syrup, or honey
- In a medium saucepan, bring cranberries, orange juice, and sugar, maple syrup, or honey to a simmer. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst. Add additional orange juice or water, if necessary.
- Use the back of a fork to smash cranberries to desired consistency. Chill for 3-4 hours then serve.
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
A Healthier Alternative for Greens
Use smoked turkey, chicken, or vegetable broth instead of pork or bouillon cubes. Use sea salt instead of seasoned salt or iodized salt.
A Healthier Alternative for Sweet Potatoes
Use a small amount of any of the following: honey, maple syrup, organic cane sugar, agave, or light brown sugar to sweeten. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, no need to overload them with sugar. Refrain from using white, refined sugar as it has been chemically treated to make it white.