Tip #1. Take your own food to a gathering.
Don’t just show up – make your own food to take to family gatherings! Not only do you ensure that you have good, wholesome paleo food to eat, but you just may convince others to give paleo eating a shot. Especially after they try some delicious gluten-free, dairy-free pies and bread-free stuffing.
Tip #2. Send notice of your dietary preferences ahead of time.
Send recipes to whoever is cooking so you can still eat and enjoy your meal. Make the traditional dishes paleo. Let whoever is cooking know so they won’t be offended if you’re not eating what is provided–with a reminder that you don’t expect them to change what is being made to accommodate your diet. (then do #1)
Tip #3. Be the host.
Host! Offer to host this year and I bet no one will even notice the white flour yeast rolls (I like to call them disease rolls) are missing! There are so many yummy paleo goods there’s no way this Christmas will mean missing out in holiday goodies.
Tip #4. Remind yourself of how bad non-paleo food makes you feel.
Stop, breathe and realize how bad you will feel if you go off the range and eat non-paleo. I drink a large glass of water walk away and distract myself. Sometimes it works, sometimes I falter. Bottom line do your best and don’t beat yourself up.
Tip #5. Plan ahead.
Shop early for ingredients in order to be prepared ahead of time. My suggestion for surviving a paleo – or any – holiday is to be involved in planning the menu for dinner. By being one of the people planning the menu, you are able to ensure that things you can eat and will enjoy will be in good supply, and that there will be fewer of the trigger foods that you are trying to stay away from. You can also ensure that your family is getting foods they enjoy and aren’t being deprived at the same time.
Tip #6. Don’t have non-paleo food available.
Make up paleo food that you like for yourself (and others.) As usual have your fridge filled with cooked, or cut Paleo foods. Make up some Paleo treats so that when everyone is having dessert at the end of the big turkey dinner…you can too! If I’m having family for any of the Holiday dinners everyone will be pure Paleo…it’s never been an issue as there are so many amazing recipes out there. Start your new Family Favorites!
Tip #7. Eat before you go.
My favorite holiday paleo tip is have a big nutritious paleo breakfast — especially if you’re going to a feast later. There is nothing that makes me so grateful, even-tempered and unlikely to fall into a SAD pecan pie as a belly full of protein and good fats and veggies.
Tip #8. Make smart choices, relax, enjoy.
Enjoy your family and don’t stress about food, make smart choices, but don’t deprive yourself. Choose the protein-rich foods at a party, like meats and eggs.
Tip #9. Make it a fun challenge.
Buy everything beforehand and make meals a challenge to create a fully paleo creation.
Tip #10. Respect others food preferences.
I found that my non-paleo family members aren’t extremely fond of paleo desserts, so one survival skill I’ll remember is that the food is not all about me. They will want to enjoy traditional pumpkin pie; and I can have an alternative, in addition to that.
Tip #11. Bake extra.
I’ve found in the last few years that the key to keeping our family on the paleo track is to do a little extra baking. There always seems to be some suitable main dish and veggie alternatives that are paleo (or near enough) but the sweets are another story! I make sure I make a few extra batches of muffins or coconut truffles or at the very least a container of dates on hand so when we’re tempted by the extra “goodies” we can eat something that’s much better for us and won’t have so many unwanted side effects!
Tip #12. Communicate your needs clearly.
I think the most important tip to surviving the Paleo Holidays is communication. In our house, we decided to stay home with just our immediate family because that way I had total control over what was being served. I know this doesn’t work for everyone (and it doesn’t work for Christmas with our family) so a person/people need to be very upfront about what their needs are. Don’t judge what others are choosing to do, and expect that they won’t judge you. Make enough to share, but be firm on what you will be eating. Be kind and loving. Have a plan ahead of time for when you are faced with foods that aren’t so good for you.
Tip #13. Set goals.
Even though we’ll travel to our family’s home and I won’t be totally in charge, my primary goal is to avoid gluten (1st) and sugar (2nd). I’m taking a couple of side dishes and a Paleo bread loaf so I don’t feel so left out and tempted to graze the dessert table!
Tip #14. Prepare mentally.
During the holidays, stick to your guns and do what you know is right for your food choices (AKA paleo) regardless of comments from friends or relatives. It’s very difficult to fight the tide (or to row up-river), but whenever I do it I am happier and feel better about myself and my food goals – regardless of comments from my mother or my aunt or my friends. They all have their varied opinions about my eating choices, but they don’t live inside my body. So, I choose to not let the hoopla of the holidays spoil my inner-self nor what I am fighting so hard to achieve.
Tip #15. Exercise in the morning
I survive by running the local Turkey Trot first thing in the morning. Then I’m much more able to say no to non-paleo temptations because I’m feeling so good from racing!
Tip #16. Offer paleo substitutions with a non-paleo ‘essence.’
When I am craving something sweet, I drink hot tea. It keeps me occupied. If I choose a “sweet” flavor it usually does the trick. And this is so easy to do in the winter, when it’s freezing outside!