Tips for a Healthy Gluten Free Holiday Season

Yes, here it is-the top five six tips for having a healthy gluten free holiday season. Enjoy!

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  • If attending a party or gathering with food, ask the host if you can bring something.

Choose to bring something that is both healthful and gluten free so you are guaranteed an excellent eating option. My fail-safe is a veggie crudite platter
with a dip. Blend a gluten free powdered seasoning/dressing mix like an italian or ranch with fat free ricotta or greek yogurt and a bit of low fat sour cream, and you have a tasty and reasonably healthy dip. With a little more work you could throw a can of rinsed white beans, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and sea salt into the food processor and have a great bean dip. Roasted chickpeas are a also a big hit. You could go as simple or as complicated as you have time for, just make sure you make a good option for yourself and others.

  • Prior to attending said party/gathering, if it is a sit-down affair, alert the host to your intolerance to gluten/celiac disease and ask if there is anything you should avoid.

I never ask someone to alter their plans, but it’s fair enough to know ingredients to keep yourself safe. I had an experience last Thanksgiving that will keep me always mindful of this. Usually I host and cook for Thanksgiving. Last year, Jeff was working, so I went to the fire station with the rest of the
families for dinner. I violated my own rules by NOT bringing something I could eat-I took 2 glutinous Key Lime pies (which I was told were very good.)

The turkey came out on platters, sliced and looking delicious. I had turkey breast, sweet potato, roasted vegetables, and cranberry sauce. I started feeling sick while sitting at the table. I made it home before the glutening hit with full force. Glutened for sure, and it sucked. I could not figure out what it was-there was no gluten in anything! (Aha-grasshopper-I was wrong.) My Dad actually thought of it a few days later when I was feeling better. “Was the turkey stuffed when it was cooking?” Jeff asked the guy who cooked-and sure enough-that was it.
Stuffing in the bird, dangit. So always, always-if you are in doubt, ask. It’s just not worth it.

  • If you know you will be indulging, don’t be afraid to cut back calories that day.

I’m not saying don’t eat ANYTHING so you’re starving and eat the entire table including the candles. Just try to keep it to small portions of vegetables and lean proteins, like chicken breast, low fat dairy, lean red meats, tuna, etc. (There’s a starter list of examples of lean proteins in my free nutrition guide.) This will keep you from being starving, but will also keep your calories lower to allow more space to eat before you start going over your maintenance calorie intake.

  • Choose your weapon wisely.

There will be lots of higher calorie options available. It’s not necessary to eat all of them-at least not a lot of all of them. If you must have multiple higher calorie options, (And I’m not saying don’t do it -the holidays are once a year-enjoy the foods you don’t ordinarily eat) try to have smaller portions of them. Sit for a while before going back for seconds. Something I always do subconsciously is ask myself-”Is this worth it?” Meaning-is the calorie cost worth the taste. My friend Jay at the Gluten Free Post tweeted (twitted? whatever) the other day that he was eating greasy Five Guys fries. (I think I am his food confessional somehow) And I asked-”were they worth it?” His answer was no. So I thank him for that, and I will continue with my occasional calorie splurges on items that ARE worth it-like dark chocolate peanut M&M’s and chocolate ice cream.

  • Exercise.

Try to exercise regularly, but especially on the days you’ll be having a food-fest. If you train with weights, a great time to train your weakest bodypart is before the food influx. You can take advantage of some of the positive partitioning that weight training gives. Am I saying all the food will be magically converted to muscle? Nope. Maybe in the land of unicorns it might, and I want to go there. But, it can’t hurt, might help, so why not.

Why is it when I intend to make a list of 5 I end up with 6?

  • Just move.

Outside of organized exercise, move around more. Get the family out for a walk after the meal, clean with house with vim and vigor before company comes over, play tag, play catch, chase the dog out of the kitchen, fight the crowds for sales-the list is endless. I bet Black Friday shopping could burn a ton of calories if it’s full contact shopping! ;) Allow no one to collapse on the couch instead of helping clean up.

It’s certainly not a foregone conclusion that you must be a weight-gaining machine for the next month.

Give yourself the gift of taking care of yourself-and doing it well.

Happy Holiday Eating!

Filed Under: celiac diseaseGluten Freenutrition

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  1. Kim says:

    Great tips!! I always try to squeeze in a run on Thanksgiving AM before I get the turkey in and we shop ’til we drop on Black Friday! Great ways to keep all those goodies from turning into holiday weight gain.

  2. Erin says:

    Hey Kim!
    Thanks-I plan of getting in a hard lifting session and some cardio intervals prior to getting the bird in-make a nice calorie sink for the goodies!

  3. Kelly says:

    Great tips! I’ll be hitting the gym that day, but several places in our area do a Turkey Run (5K) to kick off the day through the many local metroparks!

  4. Erin says:

    Hey Kelly!
    Have an awesome holiday! Sounds like you’ll be off to a great start!

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