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How NOT to be a Jerk During the Holidays When Your Loved One is Trying to Eat Healthy

My Tips for Being a Healthy Holiday Helper

It can be hard to know how to properly support your health-conscious loved ones during the holidays.  It's hard to know whether you should encourage a reprieve from their guilt with the standard, "It's okay! Just have a bite." or even the 'ol "It's the holidays, you're allowed a cheat." Perhaps the better angle is the supportive "You've done SO well, keep up the great work!" or the "It's not worth it!" 

As someone who has been on a weight-loss journey for almost four years now and has experienced many family functions, holidays, events and more... I'd love to share my insights on how to really support your loved ones.  

Here are my Top 7 Tips:

  1. ASK THEM WHAT THEY NEED. I can't stress this one enough.  If you know someone who has been focused on their healthy lifestyle and you're unsure how to support them the right way... just ask!  Ask them what kind of support they need.  Ask them how you can help.  Ask them what they need.  Trust me: we always know what we need.  We know whether we want you to encourage us to indulge, and we know if we want you to help us stay on track. It's SO refreshing to be able to say to someone, "Just don't offer me the peanut butter balls and I'll be fine." and have them smile and say, "Gotcha!"
  2. HAVE HEALTHY FOOD OPTIONS. This is the easiest way to ensure you're being considerate.  Similar to ensuring you have meat-free options for your vegetarian loved ones, have healthy sides and snacks available for those sugar-avoiding folks. Veggie trays, cheese trays, and sugar-free (diabetic-friendly) treats are easy buys to have on-hand for the sugar-conscious friend. Ask ahead of time if there's anything special you could prepare, or if there's anything they need available (i.e slow cooker/oven) for their own prepared foods.
  3. TRY THEIR HEALTHY FOODS. If someone you know is trying to stay on track during the holidays, chances are pretty high that they're bringing their own healthy foods/treats to your potlucks and get-togethers. Show your support by sampling their foods. You never know, you just may find a healthy alternative that you LOVE.  If you don't love it, though, please remember to be kind. Which leads me to tip #4...
  4. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR COMMENTS. Over the years I've experimented with a lot of recipes. Some were delicious, some... maybe not so much (ha-ha can't win 'em all!).  I can remember specific times where I was trying SO hard to stay on track and snacking on my healthy versions of cookies while eyeing up the not-so-healthy versions.  A well-meaning family member would sample one of my healthy snacks and instantly make a comment about how they'll stick to the "usual" treats instead.  The negativity and following comments about the comparison always made it hard for me to see my own healthy versions as 'equal' - and always made me crave the sugary versions more.  If you're not a fan, that's okay.  Just remember that someone else chooses that treat and enjoys it! 
  5. USE POSITIVE LANGUAGE. Tying in with tips number three and four, when speaking to your health-conscious loved ones try to always use positive language.  I remember a close family member telling me once, "You just have to learn how to say no!" in reference to the constant donut temptation.  I remember feeling silly when she said that. It felt like I had missed some integral part of this whole journey where saying no should be easier than it was, for me.  Well, it's not actually that easy.  If you've ever struggled with food addiction (or any addiction), you know this as well as I do.  Instead of encouraging someone to just say no, you could try asking, "Is it worth your goals?" OR "Are you sure?" - both of these resonate much better, and leave the power of decision up to them without lacing it in shame and guilt. 
  6. HAVE FOOD-FREE EVENTS. We know that the holidays tend to come with the expectations of constant treats, appetizers, and more.  If you're organizing your holiday gathering, try to plan games or fun activities that keep your guests busy. Have finger foods available, sure, but don't make food the main event. Skip the food comas and instead try a new board game! 
  7. CONGRATULATE THEM.  Whether your loved one chooses to stay on track or indulge a little this holiday season... congratulate them on their efforts thus far. Mental health is a HUGE part of a healthy lifestyle, and sometimes the guilt of going off-track can be a lot to carry around. It's always nice to hear that someone has noticed your efforts and that they're cheering you on from the sidelines.  

Actions DO Speak Louder than Words

Sometimes the smallest acts can have a big impact!  I was at my parents house the other day helping to finalize some of my mom's gift wrapping.  When I arrived there was a bag of chips and some chocolate goodies out.  Naturally, I had a sample of each (I'm a snacker, it is what it is).  When I left the room to grab some more gifts to wrap, my father suggested to my mother that she hide the snacks out of sight. 

That small act (by both of them) was incredibly thoughtful to me.  Not only did my dad wait until I was out of the room to avoid seeming like he was shaming me, but they both know I tend to graze and snack on anything within my line of sight. 

That's exactly the kind of support I need. ♥

When it comes to support, it's tough to know the right move.   

It's hard to dance that line between support and encouragement, but I promise that it's worth that uncomfortable conversation with your health-conscious loved one. The holidays (and family gatherings in general) are a challenging time for someone trying to actively choose their health over their unhealthy habits.

Keep your communication open, supportive, and understanding.  If your loved one decides they'll indulge a little one day, but the next day they turn down snacks - don't question them or give them the one-eyebrow-raise. 

Just support them whatever way they want you to.

My Top 5 Recipes for Staying on Track

Before I wrap this up (ha-ha holiday pun), I wanted to share with you my favourite recipes for staying on track.  It truly becomes SO much easier to stay on track when you can replace your favourite treats with healthy versions. Thanks to these recipes and Nutracelle's insanely delicious products, I've been able to shed over 130 lbs and maintain that weight-loss throughout my journey.  

I'm excited to share my favourite recipes with you, and I hope they help you as much as they've helped me:

  1. Peppermint Bark
  2. Protein Stuffing
  3. Cauliflower Faux-Tatoes
  4. Coconut Macaroons
  5. Peanut Butter Balls

Our wish to you, this holiday season!

On behalf of the whole family at Nutracelle, we wish you & yours a happy holiday and an incredible conclusion to 2019.  We're SO lucky to have you, and we promise to continue to bring you health & wellness tips, delicious prebiotic protein products, and tons of exciting new stuff coming in 2020.

Thank you for supporting us and our dream to bring healthy, safe, allergen-friendly, sugar-free products to the homes of families everywhere. 

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