1. I use real food ingredients.
When I checked my holiday recipe file after making the switch to eating real food, I was shocked at how many of my "from scratch" recipes involved dumping various processed foods together in the mixing bowl. Boxes of cake mix, containers of whipped topping, packaged cookie crumbs, and commercially manufactured candy are not whole natural foods.Once I started reading labels and learned all the ways the things we eat can harm us, I couldn't just ignore the truth that processed food products are often filled with chemical preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, artificial colors, and other ingredients that research studies have linked to numerous health problems including most chronic illnesses and several types of cancer. Baking from scratch is not as difficult as I imagined it might be. Most cookies and treats can be made from simple ingredients like flour, sugar, salt, milk, butter, nuts, and fruit.I know exactly what is in every single thing I make. And I'm much less likely to overindulge when I take the time to make something myself rather than mindlessly grab a prepackaged treat off the shelf.
2. I follow the 90%-10% rule.
I eat real food for at least 90% of my diet. The other 10% allows sufficient space to enjoy holiday goodies at home and at festive events with family and friends. Before I refocused my eating plan, I considered a holiday party plate to be nutritionally balanced if it contained an equal amount of sweet and salty treats. I now know how much harm that can do to my body. So, I stick to my plan, even during this festive time of year. I eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, drink ginger tea, have protein at every meal, and make something delicious and nutritious for all our holiday gatherings. Eating a few cookies and treats in addition to my regular diet is a different thing altogether than eating treats in place of real food. Folks enjoy having more than cookies and treats at Christmas parties. I've discovered I'm not the only one trying to eat healthier during the holidays.There are a lot of fun ways to plate and present nutritious foods. Need inspiration? Check out this Christmas Fruit Tree and Joy Veggie Plate I found on Pinterest.
3. I reduce the amount of sugar in every recipe.
Nutritionists have widely varying opinions on using sugar. Some say that sugar is fine as long as it is used in something you make yourself from real ingredients instead of in something you buy that is full of artificial ones. Some say that you should never use any sugar at all because it has been linked to increased inflammation in some people. It is not practical for me to eliminate sugar altogether, especially during the Christmas baking season, so, I limit the amount of sugar I eat. I use raw organic sugar, raw organic honey, or real maple syrup instead of refined white sugar. I reduce the amount of sugar by 1/3 to 1/2 in everything I make. And I thoroughly enjoy creating, sharing, and eating sweet Christmas goodies during the holiday season.