Are you ready for the holiday smorgasbord? So many of my clients talk about how difficult it is to maintain healthy holiday eating habits, especially when they are traveling. But I know with a little preparation and commitment, you can take control over how you want to feel on the inside and outside and still celebrate a magical season.
As actors, I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of flying cross country to shoot on location. A new environment filled with indulgent local flavors and dishes can be tempting… and stressful if you’re trying to stay healthy!
And even if you’re staying close to home, there are still a plethora of events during the holidays to navigate through (safely, of course!).
Don’t panic! Instead implement one of these healthy holiday eating strategies, so you can enjoy your festive plans and your delicious meals too.
1) Research Dining Options Ahead of Time
This is one of the best things about our age of technology. Finding the best spot to grab a bite to eat is right in the palm of your hand.
Use Yelp, Google Reviews, or even Instagram to uncover hidden gems at your destination. Look for quality grocery stores, farm to table organic restaurants and maybe even a farmers market, so you can explore the cuisine without having to wade through a lot of greasy, fried options.
2) Don’t Skip Meals In Order To Indulge Later
The oh-too-common thought is simple: “I just won’t eat all day, so I’ll have plenty of room for all the delicious treats later!” Okay, news flash, your stomach is not like a suitcase; you can’t manage space like that.
And you need the proper nutrients to get through the 18-20 hours BEFORE you arrive at your destination – be it a hotel or an event. Hours that require concentration and energy for things like your job, driving a car, and holding conversations. 😉
Plus, not eating properly during the day will cause you to overeat and scarf down your food too fast once you finally do decide to sit down and dine, causing digestive trouble. So be sure to eat a regular breakfast and/or lunch with lean protein and plenty of greens before you hit the road or the red carpet.
3) Prepare Healthy Snacks For Your Trip
Plan ahead for tummy grumbles to ensure you have an easy, healthy day of travel. You don’t want to get stuck in a long line at the food court, nervous you’ll miss your flight, especially when trying to socially distance yourself.
- Apple slices or brown rice cakes with almond butter
- Mary’s Gone Crackers and hummus
- Kale chips
Keep it simple, and bring snacks that will keep you satiated during your trip.
I also like to bring an empty blender bottle when I fly, so I can mix up a packet of green goodness once I’m through security. I love the brand Amazing Grass, and the small packet size is a big space saver. Check out their Greens Blend Variety Pack to find your favorite flavor, or their Berry Green Superfood Drink Tabs.
Don’t forget you can also bring your java fix with you too. All planes offer free hot water, so brew some healthy coffee alternatives right on your tray table. I love Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee and their Mushroom Hot Cacao Mix (use code THEPLANTELIFEFS for a discount!), which are packed with superfoods and adaptogens.
And Teeccino Herbal Coffee still has the earthy taste of regular coffee but won’t keep you awake if you prefer a little snooze at 10,000 feet.
4) Drink Plenty of Water (instead of free alcohol!)
As always, staying hydrated may just be the most important healthy holiday eating habit. Not only does water keep your entire body working efficiently and prevent you from feeling sluggish, it also curbs cravings. That can be most helpful when you’re staying down a huge free buffet at a holiday get together or wrap party.
When party time rolls around, have 8-16 ounces of water before you dig in. Not only does that extra water help fill you up so you munch less, it also sets the stage for your stomach to properly digest your food.
I feel it should go without saying, but easy does it on the open bar. Alcohol dehydrates your body, in addition to adding empty calories and gifting you a mean holiday hangover.
5) Stay Focused On Your Needs
Buffets are designed to be tempting, my friends. It’s natural to be dazzled by the bright colors and sweet smells and want to sample a little of everything. The same goes for fancy dinners when someone else is footing the bill. Just because there are so many delicious dishes available doesn’t mean you have to eat them all.
Remember your own priorities and specific body needs. If gluten messes with your digestion, don’t pile your plate with rolls and pasta, no matter how savory. If sugar leaves you feeling groggy the next day, step away from the cookies, pronto!
It’s fine to pick a couple of special indulgences to try, but stick to the foods that make your body feel good.
6) Use the 80/20 rule
The holidays are a time for celebration and community, and I want you to enjoy it. Not only is it unrealistic to think you can enforce healthy choices 24/7, but it’s also not good for your mental well-being.
So I follow this simple rule: 80% of the time, I eat very healthy. The remaining 20% of the time, I go with how I’m feeling in the moment.
After years of good healthy eating habits, my body generally craves healthier food, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t occasionally enjoy a second drink or a nice dessert. And you can too.
Just remember that when you do indulge, savor every delicious bite or sip, and leave the guilt at home!
If you struggle with balancing your body image and your love of food, I completely understand. I loooove food, but I’ve also had my fair share of body image issues as an actor (and a human) that have messed with how I eat and how I relate to food. Check out my advice to help you shift your energy around food and create a healthier relationship with yourself!
I hope a couple of these healthy holiday eating habits will help you this season – whether you’re traveling for work or play, or staying home this year. And if you have any tips I didn’t mention, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.
LOVE + holiday eats!