5 Tips To Eating Out During the Holidays

I have a confession to make…I am never ready for the holidays. 


In the past I have always worked in retail or at restaurants, so as you can imagine, work gets really crazy, which means I leave everything to the very last minute. 


Every year, I have a plan to decorate early, buy gifts early, and even bake cookies early and freeze them so that they’re ready to go for gifts and parties. 


All of that falls to the wayside super quickly, because, honestly, I am not really motivated to actually plan ahead. Christmas has always been a stressor for me, so to get all that done early, just means I have to think about Christmas early, and I just don’t have a desire for that. 


That gets me into motivation mode…what are you motivated to do when it comes to your health and what are you not motivated to do. 


I hear so many times, “But, Allene, if I could just get motivated, I would succeed!” 


At the beginning that may be true, but unfortunately, that isn’t what keeps us going. If you desire, like I did, long-term health, it’s consistency that matters. The consistency of your habits and the consistency of your choices. 


So, this holiday season, I encourage you to stay consistent with yourself and your choices and I have a few tips for you as you navigate the season with all your holiday parties and all the food gifts you receive from neighbors and co-workers. 


5 Tips for Eating Out During the Holidays 


#1 Eat What You Actually Love: I mean it! That means the things you really don’t like, such as your Aunt Sue’s favorite treat she brings to every single holiday gathering and you dread eating it but feel like you have to…yep, just don’t eat it. Accept it, thank her and if you don’t eat it in front of her, just say “I’m saving it for later” or “I am just not in the mood for it right now” The important thing is to be polite about it. 


Pick out the few things that you really love. Like I really love Pecan Pie, especially the one with the chocolate on the bottom. I will make sure I eat a piece of that pie with some freshly whipped cream. However, I won’t also eat the cookies, the pumpkin pie or the additional cakes. Those don’t bring me joy. Think about Marie Kondo when it comes to food throughout the holiday season.: What Brings You Joy?


#2 Don’t Eat Just Because You Are There: In Southern culture, I hear this all the time:”I have to eat something when I go to xyz party because that would be rude” How many holiday parties do you have to attend this year? I don’t have many; I am a freelancer, but people in my life have to attend a lot because of work or social obligations or whatever. A lot of the parties are at local hotels or country clubs or in the private dining spaces at restaurants. 


Let’s face it, catered food isn’t that great. Some can be fabulous, but having worked in the restaurant industry myself, most are absolute garbage unless the chefs are actually making it. Most country clubs or hotels use pre-packaged hors d’oeuvres that are mediocre at best. The host isn’t going to notice whether or not you eat anything and the likelihood that anyone else notices is slim too. 


So, have something before you go to the party or wait to eat a delicious meal at home afterward, and avoid mediocre food! Trust me, you’ll thank me later! 


#3 Do Say “Yes” To See Your Family and Close Friends: I say this because I read Instagram posts and emails that encourage people to say “no” more often. I am an introvert and going to a thousand parties and having to be “on” regularly is exhausting for me. But when I am with my close friends and family it is invigorating and exciting. Why? Because I can truly be myself and really enjoy the holidays and the celebration. 

While this has nothing to do with food, I will tell you that spending time with loved ones and truly enjoying yourself will help to lower the stress response (cortisol) and will put you in a more relaxed state, which is a boost for your mental health and your overall health! 

So, go out, and enjoy yourself, but I encourage you to really pick and choose who you see and spend time with this holiday season! 


#4 Create a Plan Each Week: Choose a time each week…I do this throughout the year. I pick Sunday afternoons, but you can pick Monday or even Friday night, just whatever works for your schedule and plan out your week. 

Look at your calendar. What do you have on tap for the week? Do you have a holiday party on Wednesday, your child’s piano recital on Friday, and your other child’s basketball tournament on Tuesday and Saturday? Great! That’s a lot, I know, but think about what you CAN do vs. what you cannot!  I love the fact there are a lot of healthy options out there that are quick and easy, and think about what will work for you and your family each week Some weeks may be jam-packed with obligations and others are not, so do not try to make a gourmet meal each night on the crazy busy weeks! 

One of my favorite, go-to quick dinners is literally picking up a Rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and getting a salad kit. It’s nourishing and gets the job done. What’s your favorite healthy, quick dinner plan?


#5 Offer to Bring a Dish: Unless your host is a control freak, most people are really grateful when you offer to bring a dish. They are like, that’s one less thing I have to worry about. This is your chance to bring something healthy and nourishing that is also filled with holiday delight! There are so many options out there…lookout in a few weeks for my free holiday recipe guide! I have several you may want to try this holiday season! 


I hope that this list helps you to think about consistency with your choices, so you can fully enjoy your holiday season! I know that the holidays can be crazy, and there is the excuse…” I’ll just wait until the New Year to think about being healthy”, but there is a way to stay healthy throughout the season, without compromising the joy and the festivities! 


Now, tell me, which tip is your favorite?