As Christmas Day approaches, along with the rich holiday foods...are you nervous about your eating plan? Are you wondering if you will dive into unhealthy eating habits? We have good news. Eating healthy during the holidays is really very easy, especially with a bit of forethought and planning. Here’s the secret. Eat real food! 

Yes, it’s that simple. Real foods are organic whole foods like fresh or frozen organic vegetables (not canned), organic fresh fruit, organic, grass fed meats, wild caught fish, complex carbohydrates like brown rice or oats in moderation, beans, tea or coffee and water. Yes, if you only eat “real foods” you may feel restricted at first, but then you realize just how many different foods you CAN have. Then, as soon as you are ready cut out all carbs (potato, pizza, pasta, white rice, corn, sugary candy and desserts, etc). You will feel awesome and after just 3-4 days you will be hooked. It’s best if you can start eating this way before Christmas so that you sugar cravings are gone before then. It’s not that you can’t have sweets (we will get to that later), but it will make it easier to skip over the unhealthy sweets. It’s also best to eat Paleo (high protein and low carb) most of the time because you will feel better.  Carbohydrates can cause fatigue, brain fog, adrenal crashes and weight gain. Overall, we think you’ll be surprised at the delicious holiday eating you can experience while eating real foods.

When you are shopping for holiday foods, do whatever you can to stay on the outsides of the grocery store. That’s where the real food is. (produce department, meat department, and a few items in the frozen department). Stay away from the middle of the store if at all possible, or pick 1-2 foods from the middle. Do NOT spend significant time there. If you find yourself hanging out in the middle, literally force yourself to push the cart to the outer isles of the store. Whatever your eyes see on the store shelves will influence your buying decisions which influence your daily eating habits.

Another tip is to avoid hunger. Eat high protein, high fiber snacks 1-2 times per day such as nuts, raw veggies or a protein bar. Do NOT do holiday baking, go to a party or go to the grocery store on an empty stomach. This greatly increases your chances of making poor nutrition choices. Staying hydrated helps reduce hunger, so drink lots of water (take it with you everywhere!), and keep a protein bar in your purse for emergency hunger situations. 

Here are a few paleo friendly real food ideas: 

  • Guacamole. Oh, yes, this is a classic Texas favorite, but can be enjoyed by anyone. Avocados help metabolize carbohydrates because of their magnesium, healthy fat and fiber content. Magnesium is needed to metabolize sugar. Fat and fiber help slow down sugar absorption in the gut.
  • Salsa. Ok, so this will be our last Tex-Mex food idea, but really….Tex Mex is a real thing and we vote for more of it at holidays. Tomatoes contain vitamin c and lycopene which are both antioxidants great for reducing signs of aging and reducing cancer risk. Also, the spice in the salsa will help boost your metabolism. Eat the salsa with Beanitos chips that are low carb, high protein.
  • Fresh fruit salad. Add a dash of stevia drops, Sweet-N-Natural or unsweet coconut flakes for an extra special fruit salad experience.
  • Sweet potatoes are a wonderful addition to Christmas dinner. They are full of fiber and rich in carotenoid antioxidant, vitamin c and vitamin b-6. They are also a good source of magnesium and are easy to prepare. Just bake them like a potato, or you can roast them like potatoes as well.
  • Fresh green beans.  Just blanch, sauté with olive oil, onions, garlic and slivered almonds and whala...the star of the dinner table. 
  • Grass fed pot roast with roasted veggies
  • Roasted salmon is fantastic for the holidays. Just brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. This is simple and tastes amazing.
  • Roasted cauliflower is a wonderful source of fiber, phytonutrients and vitamins.
  • Zoodles, which is a cure name for zucchini noodles. These are a tasty replacement for regular wheat pasta and just as cheap and easy to make. 

Ok, as promised, here are a few ideas for sweets that are made with real foods and are paleo friendly (high protein low carb): 

  • Gluten Free Biscotti
  • Mini Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecakes
  • Gluten Free Pumpkin Brownies
  • Yeast Free Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies

Worst holiday food offenders (avoid these):

  • Sugary soda will spike your blood sugar fast and cause overeating (try Zevia natural soda instead).
  • The Christmas cookies that never go away (so you just keep eating them). Try a healthy version of cut out cookies or just go ahead and toss the cookies. One or two at a party or on Christmas day is ok, but Christmas cookies are NOT for every day. If they were they would be called “every day cookies”.
  • Canned cranberry sauce has high fructose corn syrup and 24 grams of sugar per serving. This is the LAST thing you need even before you eat dessert. Try making a real cranberry sauce and just substitute Sweet-N-Natural for the white sugar.
  • Coffee Mate Coffee Creamers. These are a headache and sugar crash just waiting to happen. Try a natural coffee creamer like Nut Pods.
  • Fudge is a fun, sweat treat, but it can be a really bad idea to overdo it which tends to happen if it’s left out in the open. If you decide to make fudge just hide it away and bring it out when there are a lot of people to share it with. Do NOT leave it out on the table all day.
  • Donuts and hot dogs cause cancer, so stay very far away (and don’t let your kids have them).  

Other tips:

  • Take your vitamins! They give you daily energy, help detox, can help reduce cravings, and help metabolize carbs.
  • Drink lots of water to reduce hunger and stay hydrated.
  • Take a nice long walk on Christmas day or the day after. This helps burn calories and reduces holiday stress. It also helps you mentally process all of the wonderfulness of Christmas and puts you in a gratuitous state.