I love the holiday season, from celebrations with family and friends to cozy fireside stories with the girls to finding that perfect gift.

While my ideal holiday celebration would be a farm-to-table celebration of local, organic, and healthy foods, tradition takes precedence in my Italian family.

The menu is abundant with home-cooked and delicious Italian foods that remind me of my childhood in Connecticut…always pasta and breads, creamy thick sides, and decadent desserts.

Yes. No. I don’t know.

The question of whether or not to indulge, and how much, is a good one. While I’d love to give you a “best practice”, I’ve found a healthier reality in less rigid rules and restrictions.

In this reality, YOU are your own best guide.

Following are my best tips for navigating traditional holiday celebrations with ease, and how to choose what resonates for you.

Top 7 Favorite Holiday Survival Tips

1. Eat first. Try not to skip meals in preparation for the “big feast”. Feeling starved leads to overeating and poorer food choices. You’ll feel more inclined to raid the sugary dessert table and other less than healthy options. I always feel better knowing that we’ve gotten a healthy start to our day.

2. Bring a healthy snack. If you plan to travel, pack something really healthy for the car. A super smoothie, fruit, nuts, or healthy bars are all great options.

3.  Upgrade what you drink. I love fresh pomegranate juice or warm apple cider brewed with cinnamon sticks. Water is always a great option. An 8-10oz glass of water before a big meal will curb your appetite and any cravings for sugar or sweets.

4. Load up on whole foods. Grabbing for carrots, celery, apples, and other fiber-rich whole foods will help you to feel more satisfied and less inclined to splurge on the marshmallow puff (not sure what that is, exactly?!).

5. Offer to bring a healthy side or dessert. And then eat it!  I love having the peace of mind knowing there’s something the girls, my husband, and I can eat should we choose it.

6.  Practice mindfulness. Be aware of what you’re eating and how it makes you feel, whether that’s nourished and satisfied or heavy and bloated. Choosing more of the former and less of the latter will reduce the likelihood of indigestion, bloating and weight gain.

7. Truly savor your meal. Choose what you want to enjoy and truly enjoy it, no guilt allowed!

Your Simple Action Plan:

Choose 1-3 tips that feel do-able and commit to it. Small shifts in how you approach the holidays will make a tremendous difference in how you look and feel days and even weeks following a season of festivities.

I work with both individuals and families all the time to help them figure out how to navigate difficult situations, from holiday parties to business travel to restaurants, social events, and more. If you’d like to learn more about finding the dietary approach that’s right for you, I’d love to help.  Find out more here.

 Wishing you the warmest holiday and delicious celebrations.