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Celebrating Healthfully Away From Home

lunch plans

It’s the holiday season, and festive gatherings and travel take us out of our routines and comfort zones. Unhealthful foods are everywhere and temptations become greater when we are away from the comfort and convenience of our homes, stocked with healthful foods. But, with a little planning and preparation, you can successfully navigate holiday celebrations, parties, and travel without compromising your health.

  • Eat a healthful meal at home before going out to a restaurant or dinner party. You will be less likely to graze on unhealthful foods when you don’t have an empty stomach.
  • Many parties and holidays focus a lot on the food and eating. Instead of this, you can make efforts to create a party people will remember with creative and fun games and activities that bring people together. Tell funny stories, have everyone bring jokes—or share their most amazing or unbelievable experiences.
  • If you are going to a gathering with food, offer to bring a healthful dish; then you will know that there is at least one healthful option, even if everything else is junk food. Also, if you are hosting or planning a gathering, make the focus of the event on activity rather than just eating together.
  • If a gathering is held at a restaurant, choose restaurants that are known to have a large salad bar or a variety of salad options, if possible. Check the menu ahead of time for healthy alternatives, and call ahead to tell the restaurant staff your needs before you arrive, so they have time to think about how they can help, or if they are the right place to go. When you are there, don’t be afraid to make a special request. Many restaurants are pleased to accommodate customers with a double order of salad, a double order of steamed vegetables without salt, butter or oil, or a vegetable stir fry sautéed in water.
  • Take healthful foods such as raw vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds when you are traveling. When traveling long distances by car, pack bowls, silverware, a can opener, and other items to facilitate eating away from home. Then buy frozen and fresh vegetables, unsalted canned beans, and fruit at a local grocery store to create meals in the hotel room. Make sure to bring a cooler along to keep your perishable items cool.
  • Remember to eat only when hungry and stop eating before you are completely full. This is applicable all of the time, of course, but being away from home, in social environments; one may be more likely to forget this important rule.
  • Make sure that your family and friends know in advance about the exciting plan that you have for your own health. Most likely they will want to support you in any way that they can. Don’t pass guilt on family and friends at the holiday dinner table when you choose to eat differently than they do. Instead, by simply being a shining example of excellent health, you will likely inspire others to eat more healthfully.

Plan, plan, plan ahead! And enjoy the holiday celebrations in great health!

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