By Caroline Mackey, CNP, PTS
December is filled with holiday parties, family gatherings and social events on the town. For anyone dealing with food allergies and sensitivities that can mean a lot of added stress and anxiety. Try these strategies to make your holiday season much more enjoyable and stress-free.
– If you’re going to a party or event in the evening, have dinner before you go. That way when you go to the party you can have something to drink and won’t be tempted by the high sugar/fat/gluten nibbles.
– If you’re going to a restaurant, look them up online or call them in advance. Let them know what your food restrictions are and they will be able to let you know what food options will be safe for you to eat. Nowadays most restaurants are very familiar with customers having food allergies and intolerances; there shouldn’t be too much of an issue accommodating you. And if all else fails, fall back on the eating ahead of time approach as needed.
– When you’re tempted to ‘just have a little’ of something that you know is not going to make you feel good, think about the outcome. It may taste good in the moment but then you will be sacrificing an evening of fun by feeling poorly. It’s not worth it.
– When going to a friend or family gathering, there’s often feelings of needing to eat out of obligation and love. Food and love are intertwined, and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings despite the fact that it will make you feel poorly. Circumvent this in a couple of ways. Talk to the host ahead of time and let them know your restrictions, and also let them know you’ll bring along a dish or two to share. That way they won’t feel they have to cook anything special for you, they won’t be hurt when you turn down foods you can’t eat, and you’ll have enough there to eat that you know is safe for you.
– Come up with a phrase to avoid eating ‘peer pressure.’ Often my clients tell me they feel awkward and embarrassed having to explain food intolerances when out with friends or family. They are often teased into succumbing to eating foods that are not good for them. Use a phrase such as “I’m not eating any (gluten, dairy, etc) because it doesn’t agree with me, and I don’t want to feel sick when I want to have fun with all of you.” No one wants their friend to feel ill; empathy will win out and they will back down.
You can stick to eating the foods that are best for your body and avoid holiday temptations. Remember just how poorly they can make you feel, communicate clearly with others so that they will be supportive, and plan ahead as needed. Happy healthy holidays to all!
Caroline Mackey, CNP, PTS
Holistic Nutritionist & Fitness Coach
Real Life Revolution