Holiday Food Ideas For Staying Positive
By Samantha Sterling
Holiday food ideas for staying positive are easy when you keep a couple of basic “rules” in mind.
BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
First, keep in mind that there is a lot of sugar at our fingertips during the holidays. The funny thing about this is that the more sugar you eat, the more you want, and the more you want, the more you rely on it for emotional support to lift your blood sugar again and again.
Before you know it, you’re on a sugar “high and low” roller coaster, each time reaching for more sugar to bring yourself out of the sugar low. But, your brain works best when your blood sugar is kept steady and when your brain is working well, you’re more likely to be able to think better and manage your holiday life better.
Before the holidays arrive, make a promise to yourself to focus on keeping your blood sugar on an even keel. To do this, make sure you eat something more than only sugar at one time; i.e., eating protein along with the sugar will slow down the absorption of the sugar into your system.
This is one of the best holiday food tips that works because you’re not trying to “avoid sugar.” Rather, you’re giving yourself permission to have a little bit, but not let it take you away into sugar bliss.
So, “rule” number one is to augment your high sugar foods (such as candy) with other “healthy” foods to slow down the absorption of the sugar you eat, as well as satisfy your hunger so you’re not filling up solely on sugar or overly rich foods.
Secondly, if you already eat mostly whole foods, you’re well on your way to giving your mind (and your body) what it needs to function well during the heighten activity during the holiday season.
Whole foods are simply anything that doesn’t come in a package. There are a lot of good brain food ideas or lists to be found that list things like avocado, salmon, tuna, green foods (spirulina, for example), complex carbohydrates such as vegetables and amino acid supplements. But, since everyone has their own “theory,” the best thing to do is to go back to basics and eat lean protein such as fish, vegetables and basic grains and breads in three meals and two snacks daily.
If you do this through the holidays as a practice, you’ve created a foundation of food for yourself so you’re not whisked away so strongly when you consume holiday treats and holiday alcohol.
HOW TO STAY POSITIVE THOUGH FOOD
Eating well is simple (and economical). Here’s an example of how easy it can be to have healthy food at your fingertips when sugar cravings start:
Grain: Get a pot of rice or other grain going on your stove and slowly cook it for 45-50 minutes (or use a rice cooker that turns off automatically so you don’t have to think about it again.)
Baked vegetables: Cut up a combination of your favorite veggies into rather large pieces to make a total of about 3 cups and place in a baking dish with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and shake it with the lid on to coat all the contents. Try to use mostly sturdy vegetables like broccoli and cut the softer ones like mushrooms into larger pieces. Heat oven to 375 F and cook covered for approximately 20 minutes.
Baked protein: Prepare your protein by placing it in another baking dish and lightly salt and pepper it. Bake it at the same time as you’re baking the vegetables covered or uncovered.
Preparation time should be approximately 10 minutes and while everything cooks, you can be off doing something else (perhaps your holiday affirmations with the timer set to remind you to return to the kitchen.
Once you get the basic elements of food done, you can keep them in the refrigerator and mix/match them into little meals for yourself to eat hot or cold with different dressings or sauces on them. Be sure to make enough so you don’t have to do this again for a couple of days.
Having healthy food at your fingertips like I’ve described above, can take the temptation out of binging on sugar or overeating rich holiday meals and is the best brain food to keep you going when you need extra energy to keep up with the holiday activities.