Balance Soulful and Healthy Holiday Eating
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Don’t Just Survive the Holidays, Thrive With an Intuitive Eating Approach

At Health Stand Nutrition, we believe there is always a balance between indulgence and healthy eating during the holidays that we call eating SOULfully. We know you are constantly inundated with diet and nutrition information from popular media, influencers, social media, and Netflix documentaries.

Healthy Holiday Eating tips

You are made to believe that we need to eat food X to live longer, or that we NEED to start this diet to look like celebrity Y. We are told this is what will make us happier. As we head into a new year, we are all ready to start the next fad diet because 2022 will be our year to change!

The part that really gets me fired up about this is that fear is often used to try and sell you some product.  However, the seller cares very little about you, your health, and your wellbeing. Messages about “surviving the holidays” are everywhere. These messages recommend you celebrate without eating your favorite and most cherished foods. To follow restrictions in a season where we usually have all kinds of favourite baking and treats around! This perpetuates false beliefs that we all need to look a certain way to be happy, healthy and loved. That restriction is ‘normal’ and that we need to fit a cookie cutter body shape. If we do not, we must restrict, feel guilt and shame, and not enjoy food.This is simply not true.

This whole culture has created a massive increase in anxiety around food which can lead to eating disorders. In a time where fear is all around us, more anxiety and fear are only causing more problems. I am here to tell you is that you DO NOT NEED to survive this Christmas, you can eat with freedom and flexibility and still be perfectly healthy and much happier.

What is normal eating?

A common message we share at Health Stand Nutrition is that for us to eat with balance we need to think about healthful and soulful eating equally. This means that while it is good to balance carbs,. proteins, and fats, get in enough water, get all our micronutrients in; it is equally important to eat to feed your soul by eating foods that spark joy like chocolate or those Christmas cookies you only get once a year from your grandma.

Ellyn Satter wrote a perfect definition for Normal Eating. I have included some of my favorite lines but the entire definitely is linked here.

“Normal eating is being able to choose food you enjoy and to eat it and truly get enough of it- not just stop eating because you think you should.
Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat because you are happy, sad. Or bored, or just because it feels good.
Normal eating is overeating at times, and feeling stuffed and uncomfortable…. And undereating at times, and wishing you had more.”

Normal eating is NOT restricting food or cutting out food you enjoy, just because you think you should or diet culture tells you to!

Small mince pies and a glass of hot mulled wine garnished with orange slices on a festive table setting

Eating Intuitively for Healthy Holiday Eating

You may be thinking, “there is no way I can eat what I want and still be healthy…” or “this sounds great, but I know I can’t do that because I will gain weight or lose control”.

These feelings are perfectly normal, especially with the information that is being ingrained in us at such a young age. This is exactly why food and nutrition are so closely tied to our emotions. It is important to understand that it is normal and okay to have emotions related to food.

I want you to understand that one meal, one day, even one week will not make you ‘unhealthy’; it is what we do consistently over time. Research has shown time and time again that diets do not work in the long term. According to the book Intuitive Eating, the concern with any diet is that restriction or the internal narrative of “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t” have this food, can lead to this overwhelming feeling of deprivation. This can then lead to out of control cravings and/or bingeing followed by overwhelming guilt, shame, and feelings of failure

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

The 10 Principles to Intuitive Eating take a major shift from what we were ingrained to believe, towards learning to trust your body again. These principles help us to find the balance between thinking about our health but also enjoying the food we eat with pleasure rather than guilt.


Let’s start small with two of the principles:

  1. Build Balance in a Meal. Include a source of protein (about ¼ of the plate), add in fiber and energy (often the grain or starch), finish with colour (aim for 2-3 colours of fruit and/or vegetables). Not every meal is going to fit this perfectly and that is OK! This is a baseline goal. The portions will also be dependent on what your day looks like and how much activity you are doing.
  2. Bring Awareness to Eating. Take the time to stop yourself before eating, be intentional, ask yourself: “Am I feeding my soul?” “Am I physically hungry?” “Does this food spark joy?” This will help to bring some awareness to eating, allow your brain to kick in and let yourself choose foods you LOVE and enjoy!

Lastly, learn to simplify. Throw out the diet books, unfollow the influencer selling a diet or program, walk away when colleagues or friends who start ranting about diets and start taking care of you and your body. Finding freedom and confidence with food is possible and will help you to experience to fullness of good health, high performance and happiness.

Looking for more simple meal planning tips and healthy recipes for a healthier lifestyle?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for a healthy recipe of the week (and nutrition articles and videos with a balanced living philosophy to help encourage healthy habits but still save room for your favorites). Our nutrition newsletter is written by the Online / Calgary Nutritionists on our team who each hold a professional Registered Dietitian license to ensure you are getting credible advice.

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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