How to stick to your diet without ruining everyone else's holiday party

How to eat clean over the holidays. (Photo: Getty Images)

Eating natural, unprocessed foods is a super route to health and wellness, and it’s one of the least complicated healthy eating routines you can follow. Rather than weighing every meal or calculating calories, you simply eat foods that are as close as possible to their natural state. Fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, and organic meats are in — and packaged, high-sodium, and preservative-laden convenience foods are out.

A commitment to eating clean demands that you know exactly what is in the foods you are eating, which is relatively simple if you prepare all your own meals and avoid mystery ingredients — and very hard if you don’t. 

Especially when the holiday season is upon us and party invitations are filling our inboxes, it’s easy for our healthy eating intentions to go out the window. Even if you do manage to stick to your plan, you run the risk of coming off as a real-life Grinch and sucking all the joy out of the festivities for everyone around you if you’re constantly either talking about what you’re eating or asking about what’s in something. 

Keep your own fridge clean

Sticking to your food plan is so much easier when temptation is kept out of reach, so consider making your home a healthy retreat from the sugar-encrusted outside world. Allow yourself yummy treats when you are attending special events, but once back home, fill your cupboards and fridge with healthy snacks and delicious clean ingredients.

Eat a snack before you go

Prepare for parties by having a snack before you leave the house so that you aren’t ravenous by the time you are confronted with high-fat, high-sugar food. A simple mini-meal combining protein and carbs will line your stomach and help you to make smarter choices. Try apple slices with natural peanut butter or a hard-boiled egg with some sprouted whole-grain bread.

Don’t make others feel bad

If you love the way you look and feel when you eat clean, it’s only natural to want to share your plan with your friends and family. But if it’s all you ever talk about, you can become a real bore. Other people may also feel like you are policing their food choices and trying to shame them. Don’t forget to compliment the host on the food that he or she prepares, even if you think the offerings are unhealthy or you don’t plan to indulge.

Bring your own dish

Even if it’s not a potluck party, bring a dish with you, but don’t make a big deal about it or say that it’s only for you. Best of all, make a healthy version of something that’s normally considered unhealthy and show your friends how good clean-eating treats can taste. Try this recipe for Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes from Clean Eating, which are moist, indulgent, and delicious. You might pick up a convert or two!

Get active

Often the colder weather and comfort foods of the festive period keep us glued to our couch, watching reruns of Christmas movies. Break out of the funk by getting up and active: Go for a long wintry walk, get the whole family involved in a physical game, or run through a few yoga moves.

Elevate your healthy eats

Even if you decide not to indulge in the usual holiday fare, still be sure to treat yourself to something special. Elevate your usual snacks and meals with a few seasonal ingredients or luxury treats. Splurge on the more expensive nuts when you go to the market, sprinkle some chopped coconut on your yogurt, add a drizzle of dark high-quality chocolate to your fruit bowl, or enjoy a cup of Candy Cane Hot Chocolate with this recipe from Clean Eating. Make up a batch, and give it away as gifts!


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