The holidays are upon us and you know what that means—family, friends, and coworkers trying to foist unhealthy foods and booze on you that will throw you off your brain healthy program. Don’t let it happen! You don’t have to act like a sheep and let others poison your body and brain with foods that don’t serve you. It’s time to get into a serious Warrior mindset and make a plan for all those holiday parties. Here are 11 strategies that will help you conquer the holiday hazards.
1. Eat your veggies first.
If you’re going to a dinner party where there are some tempting, bad-for-you morsels, do your brain and body a favor by filling up on veggies first. Starting your meal by eating Brussels sprouts, green beans, or butternut squash will provide you with loads of nutrients as well as fiber, which helps you feel full.
2. Pace yourself.
Think of your meal like a calming mindful meditation rather than a race. Take a few deep breaths before each bite and really savor the flavors of the foods you’re eating.
3. Don’t skip meals to save up for later.
Although intermittent fasting has many brain health benefits, using it as an excuse to pig out later isn’t one of them!
4. Start your day with protein to control blood sugar.
Prep your brain and body for good decision-making by consuming a small amount of high-quality protein with your first meal of the day. This helps stabilize blood sugar levels to keep you from experiencing the cravings and poor decisions that often accompany a blood sugar crash.
5. Eat a snack before the party.
If you’re heading out for a holiday soirée and you know the hosts are going to be serving “Frankenfoods” that don’t fit in your Brain Warrior lifestyle, grab a healthy snack—such as chopped veggies with hummus—before you leave home. If you’re concerned you won’t be able to find anything worth eating at the party, go ahead and eat a light meal before you go.
6. Bring a brain healthy dish.
There are a couple reasons why I love bringing my favorite dishes to dinner parties. First, I want to know that I’ll have access to something to eat that’s worthy of a Warrior. Second, I get a kick out of seeing people who say they “hate” everything healthy dig into something I’ve brought and declare how delicious it is without realizing it’s actually good for them.
7. Don’t park yourself next to the food table.
Remind yourself that parties should be about connecting with the people you love, not about the food. Focus on socializing and stand on the opposite end of the room from the buffet table to avoid mindless grazing.
8. Don’t try everything just because it’s there.
Some hosts go all out and serve a vast array of appetizers and dishes, but this doesn’t mean you have to taste them all. Take a look at everything that’s being served and choose a few of your favorites and stick to those.
9. Remember the 3-bite rule.
If you can’t resist your favorite homemade dessert or a dish that brings back good memories of your childhood, go ahead and taste it. Just follow the 3-bite rule. You’ll get all the flavor and that flood of memories in the first couple bites without overdoing it or feeling sick and bloated afterwards.
10. Skip (or limit) the alcohol.
Avoiding booze altogether is best, but if you are going to drink, eat first to slow the absorption of the alcohol. Set a limit of 1 or 2 glasses and share that plan with someone you trust who will hold you accountable if your willpower dwindles. Be sure to drink a glass of water before and after any alcoholic beverage to avoid dehydration.
11. Take a walk after your holiday meal.
Rather than heading straight to the couch to fall into a food coma after eating, head outside (weather permitting) for a brisk walk. This aids digestion and clears your mind.
Find a Brain Warrior holiday meal plan in The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook and see many recipes for healthy snacks and other dishes on my website. And be sure to share your holiday survival strategies in the comments. It’s always great to learn from my Tribe.
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