’Tis the season of holiday indulgence

Published on Sat Dec 2, 2017 - 3 min read

Published by: Bryan Bradford

Healthy strategies to survive the holiday eating season and keep your health goals on track

Food is an important part of many holiday, family, and cultural traditions. In fact, many of these traditions center on food. Starting with Halloween and continuing to New Year’s Day many health-conscious people feel out of control running through the marathon of food offerings finally breathing a sigh of relief on New Year’s Day when they are inspired to return to more sensible eating habits. Ask yourself, wouldn’t it be great to enjoy yourself this holiday season, enjoy the foods that you love and not have any regrets when it’s all over? Here’s how to do it:

Don’t show up hungry.

They say you shouldn’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry and the same holds true here1. If you show up hungry you’re going to want to eat everything in sight. Try eating a high protein snack such as cheese and crackers, a protein bar, or Greek yogurt an hour or two before the main meal. We choose high-protein snacks because they are the most satisfying of all nutrients2.

See your plate.

If you can’t see the design of your plate underneath your food, you’ve added too much. It’s all about portion control3. When you haven’t piled it high and food isn’t overlapping, the design of the plate should be visible. And speaking of what’s on your plate…

Eat only what you want.

Don’t waste calories on foods you don’t love. Have impeccable taste. Eat only what you really like and what really tastes good. Don’t feel obligated to eat what others think you should eat or even taste. A good system is to mentally rate all of the food from least favorite to most favorite. Only eat your top 3 or 4 foods.

Listen to your body and practice mindful eating.

Know when to quit. The first few bites of food are the most satisfying, the last few, not so much4. The chemical receptors on your tongue grow tired very quickly. If you’ve made it through half a plate of mac n’ cheese and you realize you’re just shoveling in the bites without truly savoring them, leave it, it’s time to move to your next favorite food. Your body sends other signals too, if you start breathing heavy or begin to get hot, it’s time to call it day.

Targeted supplements.

No matter how disciplined we are, we could always use a little help. Keep these supplements in your holiday survival toolkit.

Digestive enzymes taken 20 to 30 minutes before the meal can greatly increase the body’s ability to break down and process proteins, fats, and carbohydrates while relieving gas and bloating. Fiber supplements such as PGX and glucomanan when taken before a meal increase our sense of fullness and help prevent overeating5. They also help prevent post-meal sugar/insulin spikes. Ginger is one of the top herbs for digestion. Studies show it reduces heartburn, stimulates digestion, and greatly reduces intestinal inflammation, even from excessive alcohol consumption6. Peppermint and fennel are also great herbs for digestive woes after holiday indulgences. Peppermint stimulates liver and bile function while also reducing symptoms of IBS7. While fennel is best known for reducing gas and bloating, studies have shown it also greatly reduces inflammation by removing toxins in the intestine and colon.8 Look for these herbs in supplements and teas.

Have fun and maintain perspective.

In the end, the point isn’t to be more stuffed than the turkey on the table. The point is to celebrate friends, family, and all the rest of the things we have to be thankful for this year. Try to focus on the other joys of the holidays as well as the food. It’s okay to overeat once in a while, relax, keep these guidelines in mind, and trust yourself enough to return to healthy eating when it’s all over.

With Sunflower Shoppe’s healthy tips and tricks, you can approach holiday eating without sabotaging the health you worked so hard to achieve this year. Happy, healthy feasting!





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Bryan Bradford

Bryan Bradford is the lead nutrition specialist, Certified Health Coach and Chief Nutrition Officer and one of the founding family members of Sunflower Shoppe.

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