How to Eat Healthy Over the Holidays Without Dieting - Verily
Are the holidays a struggle for even the healthiest of eaters?

Green smoothies, salads, and vegan recipes might come to mind when you think of what a holistic nutritionist eats every day. But for the holidays, let’s get real. We are every bit as eager to indulge. This is the time of year to honor what your body craves and enjoy food and family without feeling guilty.

That said, too much of a good thing doesn’t feel particularly special; it just leaves you feeling tired and heavy. Enjoy every bite of a treat you decide to indulge in, but make it a special occasion to relish, not an every-meal indulgence. The remainder of the time, fill your plate with recipes that are clean and wholesome. It’s all about finding and exploring the unique balance of foods that support you in feeling great while allowing room for your favorite seasonal treats, so you don’t feel deprived.

For some real-life inspiration on how to eat well over the holidays, here’s a day in the life of how to eat healthy in a way that can work for you.

7 a.m. I have a large glass of water with lemon while I make a cup of local coffee. I use a splash of half and half because that is what I love, and I stir in a spoonful of collagen peptides for some protein and as a digestive repair aid.

7:30 a.m. Enjoy my coffee while I journal and cuddle with my son. Some mornings I opt for green or herbal tea, especially if I am feeling nervous or anxious about anything. Caffeine does not help nervousness!

10 a.m. I eat a later breakfast because I am a huge fan of intermittent fasting, which gives my digestion a nice long break to rest and repair. Because I’m not hungry when I first wake up, it’s easy for me. I love an omelet with cheddar, kale, and green onions. When I’m in the mood for something more comforting, I opt for a bowl of steel-cut oats with vanilla, almond milk, grass-fed butter, and almond butter (for protein). If I eat a fair amount of carbs in the morning, I need to add a good dose of protein and fat to keep me satiated for a longer period of time.

2 p.m. I love leftover soup or a meal from the previous night for lunch. My days are full—I am guessing like yours. I generally make extra portions of dinner so that I have an opportunity for a wholesome and easy lunch. If I’m eating out—say, meeting a friend for a holiday lunch—I allow myself to get whatever it is I truly want, but I try to keep refined carbs to a minimum to help keep my appetite and blood sugar in check. I love warm salads and veggie bowls if those are options. If I choose a sandwich, I ask if they can prepare it open-faced and have a side salad to keep my body balanced while still eating what I want without strict rules.

5 p.m. I start prepping dinner. My weeks are made infinitely easier by having a loose plan to start. I don’t always follow it to a T, but having an idea of what is for dinner each night allows me to shop accordingly. This means I make less trips to the grocery store and avoid eating too many meals out. When it’s chilly out, I’ll roast a chicken (so simple!) along with some veggies and a salad. My favorite veggie chili is always a hit with my kids and makes for a hearty meal with toppings like green onions, avocado, organic sour cream, and sharp cheddar cheese.

7 p.m. I try to have dinner wrapped up by 7 so that my digestion can get a full rest until the next day. But, I usually don’t say no to a sweet treat, especially during the holidays. I am a big believer in feeling good in your body and enjoying your favorite foods, so I never cheat myself. I’ll go for some dark chocolate dipped in peanut butter or, if I have extra energy, I’ll whip up some paleo chocolate chip coconut cookies along with a turmeric milk latte. [Editor’s note: Read about turmeric’s healing properties here.]

This time of year, every week or so calls for my grandma’s cutout cookies (made with real butter, all-purpose flour, and regular cane sugar). With my family, we decorate and delight in them. The secret to a healthier holiday isn’t green smoothies; it’s making good food and enjoying it.