We love December at ODB. The holiday parties, pine-scented décor, warm beverages, and gift-giving get us feeling pretty festive. At the same time, the season of mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and egg (rum) nog can make us a little anxious. We’ve been drinking our green juice (thanks Cru!), cycling to work, and loading up our plates with veggies from our small batch salad bar all year long and we don’t want to completely throw caution to the wind this season. As such, we’ve enlisted the expertise of Courtney Stuart Laurie, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and the Founder of Smart Fuel to guide us. Courtney prepared 10 simple tips to help us navigate the feasting season. Over to you, Courtney…

1. The standard is not perfection.

I’m a huge advocate for the 80:20 rule. Be mindful and smart about what you eat and drink 80% of the time, and leave the other 20% for time to indulge and satisfy your cravings. It’s important to take time to enjoy the holiday season and all the treats that come with it. Depriving yourself completely will leave you feeling unsatisfied and increase your likelihood of bingeing.

2. Nosh on healthy snacks throughout the day.

Fasting all day and eating a giant meal at dinner time (particularly a meal filled with carbohydrate and calorie- dense foods) will cause your body to work overtime. Your blood sugar will spike, insulin will be released to bring you back down, and then your blood sugar will crash. This cycle leaves you feeling lethargic and increases cravings. I recommend starting your day with a balanced breakfast including protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. Try fixing a simple omelet with sautéed spinach, tomatoes, and onions.

3. Show up with a healthy offering.

Show up to your family meal with a healthy salad, side dish, or dessert. Strapped for time, or don’t know what to cook? Visit Our Daily Brett; they always have a selection of grab-and-go salads, side dishes, and nutritionally dense dips and snacks that are perfect for sharing!

4. Skip the fat pants. 

We get the logic behind showing up to holiday dinner in your comfies – when you wear leggings and other form forgiving clothing, you minimize the feeling of discomfort that a full belly brings. However, I challenge you to wear something this season that will allow you to listen to your body signaling that it’s time to stop eating. Wear something fitted and when you start feeling uncomfortable, put down the fork!

5. Balance out the acid. 

Your traditional holiday meals are full of acid forming foods such as animal proteins and grains. Make sure to balance this with alkaline-forming foods like fresh fruit and leafy greens.

6. Practice mindfulness. 

Don’t eat something just because everyone else is doing it or because it’s tradition. Do you even like eggnog? Think before you drink.

7. Load your plate with the good stuff first. 

Start by loading your plate with lighter dishes such as broth based soups, vegetables, and lean proteins like turkey. Leave a small portion of your plate for mashed potatoes or other indulgent dishes. By filling up on healthier dishes first, you’ll have less appetite when the sweets come out. You’ll likely still want something sweet, there’ll just be less room available.

8. Choose to indulge in foods that make you weak in the knees. 

Rather than piling your plate high with empty calories that don’t bring you joy, choose selectively. If you’re going to indulge, make it worth it!

9. Drink wisely. 

Avoid high carb, bloatie beers, and stick to red wines and cocktails without added sugars.

10. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. 

It’s important to stay hydrated in order to encourage your body’s natural detoxification processes. Drink 2+ litres of water every day. This is especially important in December, but try to carry this simple habit in to 2016 too!

I hope these simple tips and tricks will keep you on track this holiday season. If you want to learn more about how to reach your nutrition goals, get in touch with me to set up a complimentary consultation.

Courtney Stuart Laurie
CHN Certified Holistic Nutritionist