Eating Healthy Throughout the Holidays

Last updated: May 2018

Maybe this should be titled, “How to eat so that we don’t ruin last year’s resolution." Yep, that would be my title. I work on my diet and am stuck in the same place I was last year and the year before and the year before that. Always within 20 lbs.

It seems that many of us with COPD struggle with a weight issue.

We either need to gain or to lose. Since the holiday season begins with Thanksgiving and runs through New Year’s Day we’re often faced with an abundance of food choices, most of which are full of sugar, which isn’t healthy for any of us. But they are tradition and so good. Everyone expects these goodies. Did I mention that they are so good?

I’m saved, kind of. I’ve become so highly allergic to many things and can’t even hold an egg in my bare hands while it’s in the shell. I am trying to find ways to make a few things like cake pops for our grand kids, and the adult kids too. My pulmonologist said that allergies are likely triggering my COPD. Oh joy!

When we go to others' houses, or even if they come to ours, we need to prioritize and maybe even schedule our meal plan. Even eating at other’s homes should allow us to focus on what we can and cannot eat. My oldest daughter is a vegan. She says that she can usually put a meal together with what is served. She plans to take an extra veggie or two along, just in case. No one will be offended by that. You could even ask what the menu is ahead of time. There will likely be meats, potatoes, vegetables, breads, pies, cakes, cookies, and candies. Maybe wine, beer and other cocktails too. Diet sodas, regular and juices. Some will be healthy and some not. Example sweet potatoes. They are a healthy vegetable right? That’s before the butter, brown sugar and marshmallows.

If you need to eat more small meals, and struggle to gain, figure out what your meal plan should be. If you need to supplement with something different, do that. Do coordinate with the host/hostess maybe they will help with suggestions. Make this the healthiest for you.

Are you like me and needing to lose weight?

It’s going to be a feast everywhere! Are you a calorie counter? Plan your meal ahead of time, the best you can anyway. Do allow a cookie or two. Your diet will be maintained easier if you allow yourself a treat. Then you will be less likely to hide your snacking. I can easily forget what I’ve eaten, here it’s called selective remembering. Then I tend to over eat. I’m going to try to remember to use a diet app on my phone to keep track of what I eat and drink.

Something that’s important too, find out where you can lay down and rest when you need to. Be sure to tell someone where you are going, so that they don’t worry and come looking for you. Rest is needed. Even to sit back and let others wait on you. Your health is so important.

Things that I do before agreeing to attend someone’s event:

  • Ask if anyone is sick. It’s important that I know if they have come down with something, because it could be serious if you get sick. Be sure to take a mask along, in case someone has the sniffles or is sick and they forgot to mention it to you. You will be protected that way. Those white masks can seem a little sterile, so my daughter got me a cloth one with paw prints all over it. Such fun and more relaxed. Plus, it's washable, which is a bonus.
  • Ask if there will be a real Christmas tree. That pine smell may be overwhelming to you, or trigger a reaction. There may be poinsettias or other plants. Can plants be moved to another room if you’re reactive to them? I also ask that room scents and even scented items worn as colognes, hair gels, etc. be minimized or avoided on the day/s that I’m there. Most of my family know and some will even use the shampoo and laundry soap that I use on the day that we will see each other. These can affect your breathing and even trigger an exacerbation, so I’m grateful.
  • Bring unscented soap. I also carry a soap that I can use and usually it’s just Dawn dish soap. It’s less messy than bar soap and I know I won’t have a reaction to this.
  • I find, with open communication about my needs, we have a much nicer time. Everyone gets so concerned that something will trigger a reaction, this is peace.
  • Bring your own snacks. Back to the menus. Because there aren’t many foods I can eat, especially if they are seasoned or contain allergens, I’ve been known to bring my own sandwich and dessert.

Wishing you Happy Holidays and may you build wonderful memories along the way, for you and yours

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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