Healthy Holiday Eating in 2020

In this extraordinary year, parties may be scaled back, annual gatherings put on hold, and traditions adapted for safety – and the holidays will happen anyway. Maybe more than ever, we may all crave the tastes of the season. The familiar aroma of spices, baking, feasts in the oven, and the sounds of family and friends celebrating. You can still enjoy all that – safely and without overdoing.

You might make favorite dishes at home, bake cookies with the kids, or join small gatherings (outdoors, if possible). Friends are bound to send gift baskets with treats, too, or drop off the pumpkin-cheesecake of your dreams. And since you’re spending more time at home this year, you could be facing a whole lot of temptation.

Fortunately, you can stick to your healthy eating plan even in times of stress, boredom, or unusual circumstances. Set an intention to feed your body with the same care you feed your spirit this season. These tips can help.

Special treats will be making their annual appearances wherever you look. Try eating a bowl of soup or other healthy, satisfying food before you head out to an event. Not arriving ravenous can make it easier to make smart decisions about what foods are and are not worth munching on.

Running errands or going to the market? With a busy schedule, you’re more likely to eat on the run – which is not always good. Think about packing a small bag of nuts, a piece of fruit, or other healthy snack to see you through your day.

The holidays can be stressful, especially in a year when you’re missing friends and family. Eating for comfort and mindless grazing are common responses to pressure. Carve out some time to relax and let go of expectations and responsibilities. Try quick mental breaks, like a 60-second meditation, or a nightly bathing ritual to help you unwind. Exercise is another great stress buster, and it will also help curb the impact of holiday cookies.

You can absolutely nourish yourself and indulge a bit. Remember that healthy eating is about balance. Instead of having the buttery mashed potatoes, extra stuffing, and candied yams, consider choosing just one decadent option and filling the rest of your plate with veggies and lean protein.

If you’re the chef, consider some healthier options from the Canyon Ranch Recipe Library.

At times you may load up on holiday foods that don’t exactly fit into your healthy eating plan – and you might then feel eaters’ remorse. Eating something that has extra calories or is less-than-nutritious isn’t a failure.

While you can’t and shouldn’t eat that way all the time, an occasional, modest detour from your good intentions shouldn’t affect you too much. You can’t un-eat that delicious brownie, so allow yourself these moments, then return to your healthy eating plan.

Eating Healthy When You’re Stressed
When tension runs high, the “how” of your diet is just as important as the “what”
Healthy Eating Strategies for the Holidays
Yes, you can navigate this time of year without abandoning your diet goals
The Traveler’s Guide to Healthy Eating
Make good-for-you choices on the road just like you do at home