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Expect Detours in Your Holiday Plans

If you’ve ever seen the graphic of what people think success looks like (straight arrow) versus what success actually looks like (a super windy road), you know that achieving your goal is not necessarily going to be a walk in the park. Despite our best of intentions and plans in life, success is never-ever a straight arrow.

This is even more so if you’re talking about creating goals around the holidays. It’s a time of year with lots of distractions – good and bad – so we need to be flexible and adapt when something throws us off course.

As a nutrition coach, where I see most people get tripped up is at holiday parties. They have the best of intentions of eating well throughout the season, but then they’re invited to a holiday dinner and they feel that they have no other option than to eat the food that is served even if it’s going to create a flare of symptoms in their body.

I am fully onboard with seeing gatherings, especially dinners, as a time for community and the sharing of food is part of that. However, if the food is going to do harm to your health, you’re not doing yourself any favors. There is a graceful way to handle situations like this where you can still partake in the sense of community, but not have it be at the expense of your own health.

Food detours

The key to staying committed to your nutritional needs is to plan ahead. If you’re going to an event at a restaurant, call in advance to speak with a manager or a chef about your restrictions. Most likely, they’ll be able to make modifications where needed to support you.

If you’re going to a house party, bring something that you know you can eat and don’t arrive starving. Make sure you’ve eaten well throughout the day.

Dinner parties are where I’ll tread the lightest. They’re a lot of work and I don’t want to put any extra work on the host/hostess. So, I’ll likely call in advance to find out what they’re having and, best case scenario, there’s something on the current menu that I can have as is. If not, I’ll explain that I have allergies and ask if they wouldn’t mind if I brought an allergy-friendly dish. That could be something that’s for the whole party, or a single plate for myself of an allergy-friendly version of what’s cooking.

This is what I do for Thanksgiving each year. I make an allergy-friendly version of a traditional dinner, bring it to my cousins, and just heat it up right before we’re able to sit down. Everyone is typically so distracted in getting their own means and mine looks similar enough to the other plates that nobody really pays attention. The host doesn’t have to worry about special accommodations for me and I know that I have safe food for myself.

What are your best strategies to stay committed to your nutrition during the holidays?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.