Home / Blog / Happy and Healthy Holidays: 4 Tips for Eating Real Foods

How do you ensure a happy and healthy holiday season during the most food-oriented (and indulgent) time of the year? It’s easier than you think!

This is Olivia, the iNatural blogger. Welcome to our Happy and Healthy Holidays mini-series!  I know my favorite way to celebrate any occasion is with food. Usually the holiday season means unhealthy foods. However, when I eat better, I feel better — then I have even more energy to celebrate the season. Sounds like an easy choice, right?

It seems difficult to maintain a healthy diet during holiday celebrations, but I promise that with a few simple tips, it really isn’t that hard. Over the course of the month, we’re going to share some easy ways to make sure your holiday celebrations remain healthy.

Happy and Healthy Holidays

So what’s the most important thing you can do to maintain a healthy diet this month? Eat real foods.

This is the crux of everything. If you do nothing else this month, limit your intake of processed foods. Most processed foods in America are full of added chemicals, sugar, and salt instead of the nutrients we need. Real foods are foods made without added chemicals or preservatives. They use natural ingredients and don’t need a lot of junk to make the dish taste good.

Check out our tips for eating real foods this holiday season:

Tip 1: Read the label.

One of iNatural’s favorite sayings is “Read the label.” Make sure you know exactly what you are eating. Our passion for natural foods means we avoid artificial ingredients in the foods we prepare. Reading the label is a good habit to cultivate, no matter what time of year. Knowledge is power!

Tip 2: Don’t be fooled by “diet foods.”

It can be tempting to cut calories/fats/sugars/carbs/whatever with “diet” foods like no-calorie soda, fat-free chips, and other gimmicky foods. However, many processed foods compensate for cutting back on one category by loading up on things like sugar, salt, or artificial ingredients. (Olestra, anyone?)

It is much healthier to have a reasonable portion of real food — like a small pat of butter — instead of a diet food that fails to provide real nutrients or is filled with chemicals — like margarine and its hydrogenated oils. Diet foods that seem too good to be true probably have something else added in compensation. See Tip #1.

Tip 3: Be picky.

When you’re confronted with a spread of food, use your good judgement and pick only the best. The “best” here might mean your aunt’s super-fattening but oh-so-traditional pie. Or it might mean the green bean salad — it’s up to you.

But if you’re picky, you don’t succumb to the pressure to try a bit of everything. Pick only what appeals to you. If you don’t love pies… let it be. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Chances are, you’ll pick family favorites and end up with fewer processed foods by being picky. And when you can control what type of food you eat, pick the best.

(And if you’re really pressed for time but need to provide delicious food that meets your high standards… there’s always iNatural Catering! *winkwink*)

Tip 4: Balance things out.

Not every meal will be super healthy. Not every meal will be a blow-out celebration. Use your non-celebratory meals to balance your diet. When I know I’m in for a carb-laden dinner, I like to try to keep lunch light; I’ll use this opportunity to eat the vegetables I might not get later. In a similar way, if I’ve eaten a lot of protein at lunch, my dinner can go easy on the turkey.

Even if you can’t avoid processed foods at dinner, it is within your power to eliminate those artificial ingredients from your diet for the next 24 hours. Moderation is the key.

So what’s the bottom line? Eat real foods. Stay away from processed foods filled with artificial ingredients or loads of sugar/salt. Read the labels. Don’t be tempted by diet foods. Be picky. Balance things out. It’s easy as all-natural pie!

Be sure to visit us again as we continue to explore ways to maintain a healthy diet throughout the holiday season! As always, we welcome feedback. Just leave a comment below, email us at info@inaturalcatering.com, or use our contact form. Thanks, and we hope to hear from you soon.


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