Holiday Strategies for Keto People
As 2022 comes to a close, we checked in with our coaching team, the Senza community, and a few special guests to gather fresh ideas for navigating the year-end holidays. Here are some tips for enjoying the season without compromising the progress you've made with your health:
Karlie says… come prepared
"One way I make it through the holidays without stressing too much is to come prepared. I find most people don't really mind if you bring a few things you know you'll need, especially if you let them know ahead of time! I usually say something along the lines of 'I've been working really hard to get the right amount of protein for my body, and it's been making a big difference for my health. I'd love to sustain my progress through the holidays, so if it's okay with you, I'll bring a couple of dishes to share.'"
"If we're traveling for the holidays, I like to pack extra handy items like collagen packets and jerky. That way, if meals we share with others aren't meeting my needs, I can still bump up my protein and get what I need for the day."
I suggest bringing your own low-carb sides and desserts to your party destination. And if you are not strong enough to make the necessary small good decisions, avoid attending events that are heavy in bad temptations. Work and social holiday parties are filled with social pressure and bad foods. Avoid them until you are strong enough to say, "No."
Idalia says… make it keto-style
"My best tip for staying keto at holiday gatherings is to make your own dish to share. Many low-carb side dishes and desserts are just as tasty and satisfying for a non-keto crowd. And if you’re worried about missing out on festive holiday drinks, bring a tumbler filled with a keto-friendly hot chocolate or another drink that appeals to you."
One of the best things I've done to help myself navigate the holidays better is come up with some boundaries and a flexible framework for my health. As someone who easily goes to an all-or-nothing type mindset and in the past would treat the holidays like a free for all, I've come up with a more flexible way to approach them. I now have a list of some non-negotiable health habits I need to do on a daily basis to keep myself somewhat on track. These include eating breakfast, eating enough protein, making my meals balanced, daily walks after meals, and a bedtime before 11pm. Of course, my ideal list is longer, but I give myself some slack around the holidays and make sure I'm doing a few essential things to keep my energy stable, mood good and meals satiating.- Madisen, Gut Health Coach @the.gut.goddess
Myckenzie says… breathe
"I actually have five tips for you this holiday season:
- Breathe: Deep breathing creates a different physiological response in our bodies, so you can use it to your advantage to help you reset when things feel like they are getting hectic or Aunty Katherine just poked your nerves. Try taking five deep breaths whenever you are feeling stressed or anxious. Practicing meditation can help you remember to breathe when Aunty Katherine strikes, rather than jumping into a full-blown reaction mode.
- Carve time out for you: Take a bath, go for a walk and listen to your favorite music, etc. When you feel good, it affects every person you interact with.
- Practice mindfulness: When you are cooking or baking, put your awareness on the smells, textures, and colors of the ingredients. When you are eating, chew your food, taste it, enjoy it.
- Communicate: Express your intentions beforehand and hear your family's expectations. Hurt feelings often arise when we have different expectations without knowing it. When family members communicate from the beginning, it allows more space to be present, to connect, and to enjoy each other's company.
- Practice self-compassion: Holidays can bring up a lot of mixed emotions and food situations that might not be as easy to control. Watch where your thoughts go and bring them back to loving ones whenever you need. You can practice affirmations to help with this, such as, 'I am loving and lovable.' And if you need to cry, cry. Let the emotions come up, and allow yourself the gift of being human."
My best advice during the holiday season is to #1 allow yourself grace, #2 enjoy your loved ones, #3 do your best to fuel your body properly with nutrient dense foods. If you’re worried that temptation will get the best of you, then ensure you eat a nice nutrient-packed meal before heading out to your holiday parties/gatherings. Bringing along keto friendly treats and foods to share is great way to spread the keto love and allows you to participate in the festivities guilt-free and on track. Happy Holidays!
- Coach Kim, K.Ro Keto Coaching @kim.runs.keto
Nikki says… my house, my (keto) menu
"I like to cook for a crowd and keep it as keto as possible without scaring the guests away! Traditional meals like a whole beef tenderloin or prime rib roast can be the centerpiece of a holiday meal with little to no modification. On the side, we might fry a batch of Brussels sprouts, or puree some root veggies like turnip with lots of grass-fed butter, of course. Soul Bread rolls made with whey instead of wheat flour are a crowd-pleaser. For dessert, we might serve a keto-friendly cheesecake or make a batch of grain-free cookies or brownies to share.
"When I’m a guest at someone else’s gathering, I offer to bring the charcuterie board or a mixed green salad with homemade dressing and all the keto-friendly toppings. Zevia-brand mixers also come in handy for making keto-cocktails.
For most of us, it really matters what we eat first on our plate. Our glycaemic (blood glucose) and insulin response can vary vastly depending on what foods we ingest first or towards the end of the meal. One study showed how when we eat starches first, we may have a significantly increased glucose response compared to when we start off with some non-starchy veg - a salad with apple cider vinegar dressing seems ideal.
Push starches (if you have any) towards the end of the meal, after having a nice layer of fibre/apple cider vinegar and protein in your stomach.
- Patricia Daly, Keto for You, @patriciadalynutri
The Senza community says… keep calm and keto on
Each year, we poll the community about plans for the holiday season, and the majority of respondents say they plan to stay on track all the way through to the new year. When you’ve made a lot of progress with your health, you have every incentive to stick with what’s working.
We wish you all a season that's filled with peace, joy, and wellbeing!