Well, the holidays are upon us. I’m Jewish, married to a non-Jewish man thus we celebrate all holidays. And I am not just talking Chanukah and Christmas. Let’s add Easter, Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to the mix. Oiy!!!
These are all “joyous” occasions, yet for most of us the joy is laced with many other emotions and not always good ones. And because food is central to most holidays, our relationship with food takes a serious beating during these times.
For the first 20 plus years of my life I celebrated Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at my paternal grandparents house. I couldn’t wait to see my Grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins yet deep within I was nervous about the abundance of food that surrounded—bowls of candy, the rich and plentiful meals and the multitude of desserts. I wanted to eat because it made my Jewish grandmother happy and indulgence seemed appropriate for these festive occasions. However I had body image issues and all that other stuff that goes with being a girl so I wanted to try to stick with the healthy stuff. Sadly, most times I ate and ate and ate…and neither felt good physically nor mentally thereafter.
So, there you have it. Your one and only culinary nutritionist stuffed herself like a Thanksgiving turkey. Well, I am happy to admit that I am totally human! I vividly remember each year trying to come up with a plan to eat better thus feel better but it rarely worked. Though eventually it did work (call it maturity and gaining some valuable tools). I’ve come a long way since my tweens, teens and twenties!!!
There you have it—the reason why the holidays and eating is something so close to my heart! So, moving into this season, I want to offer the following advice:
- Carefully choose (if possible) which holidays parties you will attend (there can be many!)
- Never go to a holiday party hungry (a lot of people don’t eat all day and go starving—bad idea)
- If you drink, set a limit on the number of drinks you will have and stick to it; in fact, make a statement to your partner or friends about the number of drinks so they can be your “watchdog”
- When going to the home of friends or family, casually ask what is on the menu and identify what you can/will eat so you feel secure; if nothing floats your boat, then eat before and have something light at the festivity
- If you feel pressure to eat certain things (like a really gross casserole that your mother in law makes; or a type of food that you don’t want to eat such as ham or venison) there are three options: (1) Accept that you will have a very small taste and prepare yourself; (2) Say that you have been experiencing food allergies and have to be very careful about what you eat; (3) Simply say that you don’t eat or are no longer eating that food
- Offer to bring food to help the host and be sure to prepare a few dishes that you like and feel good about eating
- Put small portions on your plate
So put these in your self-care toolbox and enjoy what’s ahead. You don’t want to miss out on the fun!!! Written By: Stefanie Sacks
PODCAST NOW PLAYING: The holidays are all joyous occasions, yet for most of us the joy is laced with many other emotions. Because food is central to this time of year, our relationship with it can be a tad tumultuous. What are some of the food issues surrounding holiday festivities and how can you ultimately set yourself up for success?
Join Bella Petite Culinary Nutrition Expert Stefanie Sacks, M.S., CNS and special guest Chef André, Kathy Ireland’s go to guy for nutritious delicious cuisine to fill your self-care toolbox with ways to feel good and stay healthy through the holidays.
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