The holidays are upon us. They are a time of joy, giving, sharing and celebrating. But they can also be a time of stress for a whole host of reasons. One reason is the negative influence and interference of diet culture. Over the coming weeks, Anna and I are sharing, on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, 12 Tips to Keep Your Holidays Diet Culture.
You can share YOUR tips with us at #DietFreeHolidays.
Here are 3 steps you can take TODAY to ditch diet culture during the holidays.
1. Don’t engage in diet talk
Unfortunately, with all the holiday foods and gatherings comes lots of talk about food, weight, and physical activity. It can feel overwhelming and so frustrating. Not to mention, it's confusing to children and can leave them feeling bad about themselves. For example, if children hear people talking about "bad foods", children think in very concrete ways and might think they are bad for liking that food.
It’s absolutely OK to ask people not to make negative, diet-centered comments! You can also set the tone with the language YOU use during the holidays. Here are some suggestions!
2. Buy pre-made and packaged foods
If you're like most of us, you have more commitments during the holidays. And on top of that, there’s lots of pressure to make something special to take or serve for all those holiday gatherings. I LOVE to cook and bake. But when it starts to feel like a burden, that’s a signal it’s time to head to Trader Joe’s (this isn’t sponsored) or wherever you like to shop and pick up some favorite packaged and pre-made foods to share!
Put some of these chocolate-covered peppermint Joe-Joes (Anna introduced me to these a few years ago!) and dark chocolate-covered star shortbread cookies on a plate, or heat up these simple, frozen quiche and lemongrass chicken hors d'oeuvres to take to your next gathering!
3. Don’t make diet versions of your holiday favorites
I don’t make diet versions of foods-including our favorite holiday foods. We love our favorite holiday foods as is! Have you been to a gathering where someone served mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes?! They just aren’t the same. And the motivation for making a “healthier” version is so often grounded in fear of weight gain which adds an element of diet culture to the spread. The truth is there’s typically a wide array of foods from fruits and veggies, to starches to proteins. So, you'll get the nutrients your body needs. And yes, you may eat more and certainly different foods than usual. And that's part of the holidays! Think of holiday meals as just another meal, but with many more (delicious) choices! And don't forget to skip the diet talk (see #1 above).
What helps you navigate diet culture during the holidays? We'd love to hear from you! Comment below. Or follow along on social media and use #DietFreeHolidays to share your tips with us.