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Celebrating Food Roles During the Holidays

By Erin Gilbert, RDN, CSO, LDN

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But unfortunately, this festive time can be clouded by fears of “holiday weight gain”, diet talk & guilt around eating seasonal foods. This can be especially challenging to navigate if you are in eating disorder treatment or working to heal your relationship with food.

This holiday season at Balanced Nutrition, we want to help you change the narrative. Instead of fearing candy canes or potato latkes, we encourage you to celebrate all the ways food can make the season special.

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or something else, here are some positive reminders of the other roles of food during the holidays (aside from providing essential energy of course!):

Food Brings Us Together

The holidays are all about spending time with those we love & food is often at the center of celebrations. How better to do that than grabbing hot chocolate with your best friend or gifting cookies to your neighbor? Some of the best holiday memories are made sitting down at the table, enjoying a delicious meal with friends & family! Through food, we share love, joy & show people we care about them.

Traditions & Culture are Passed Down Through Food

There is something beautiful about recipes & traditions that have been passed down through generations. While loved ones may no longer be on this earth, they can live on through their famous Christmas cookie or New Year sauerkraut recipe, year after year.

On a broader scale, food also builds a cultural bond. Italian families may enjoy eating Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Children of Jewish faith are often given gelt (chocolate) during Hannukah festivities. The Black community comes together to celebrate Kwanzaa, which is based on African harvest festivals & culminates in a feast. Just to name a few examples!

Food is at the Heart of Experiences & Making New Memories

Decorating gingerbread houses or baking cookies with your kids are great opportunities to create fun experiences they will look back & cherish. Don’t miss out on building beautiful memories because you were worried about the calories if you lick the spoon!

Give yourself permission to look forward to your favorite pumpkin pie or Grandma’s famous mac & cheese! Remember– you deserve to eat foods that taste good, during the Holidays & any other time of the year!

We hope that reminding yourself of these positive roles of food makes the season more merry & bright! If you would like to learn more about how to have yourself an anti-diet holiday season, schedule with one of our registered dietitians here!


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