Holiday Nutrition Reset
Welcome back to “Allie’s Corner,” where our favorite Physician Assistant Allie Nowak, certified in functional medicine through the Kresser Institute, shares tips on how to invite greater health and wellness into your everyday life.
While most people focus on nutrition and healthy eating after the holidays have passed and the damage has been done, paying attention to what you’re eating during this busy season can really pay off. Healthier eating habits during the holidays can provide the energy for a jam-packed schedule and allow you to start the new year feeling better than ever.
No one diet works for everyone, which is why there are so many options out there. I focus on meeting my clients where they are at. Here are some tips I often share to help people get started on a plan that works for them:
- A modified elimination diet can be helpful if you’re wondering about food sensitivities. For example, you can eliminate gluten for one month, and then add small amounts back into your diet for three days in a row to determine if you feel better or worse. The same goes for dairy, corn and soy. You may notice profound differences after just a couple weeks.
- If you worry about eliminating certain food groups during the season of parties and gatherings, focus more on balanced macronutrient intake. Every meal or snack should consist of a healthy protein (grass-fed beef, pastured eggs or chicken, wild-caught fish, eggs or beans, for example), a healthy fat (seeds and nuts or nut butters, fatty fish, avocadoes or butter) and a carbohydrate (fruit and veggies, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa). When you eat this way, you will be more satisfied and less likely to indulge at the dessert bar.
- Commit to meal assembly. Prepare meals ahead of time or consider a meal delivery service for the next month to make it that much easier to eat well.
- Be mindful about what you eat. Ask yourself: How hungry am I? Am I craving food or something else? How full am I after each meal? When you pay closer to attention to your feelings of hunger and satisfaction, you can make better choices that support good nutrition.
If you can commit to eating well 80 percent of the time during the holidays and into the new year, then you are doing great! While it can be challenging to eat well and move regularly during the weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, you can prevent weight gain, support balanced energy and make yourself a priority this time of year.