T’is the season for decadence. Elaborate parties, corporate shindigs and the never-ending classroom festivities that inundate us roughly from October to January.

Avoiding the buffet tables and party invites does not mean hiding under a rock until the new year arrives. Embrace your plant-strong life and more importantly, embrace your plant-strong HEALTH!

Here are some tips and tricks for navigating the holiday season. While I would absolutely love to give everyone the gift of a plant-strong lifestyle, that is not always well received especially around the holidays. No one wants to feel shamed for what they are consuming and the same should go for you! Do not let anyone make you waiver from eating plant-strong and heart healthy. You do you but here are a few ways to add a little plant-strong flair to your holiday season.

  • Party or Potluck on calendar? Volunteer to bring a plant-strong dish! Check out our Engine 2 line of cookbooks or even the recipes on our website and find a recipe that you would like to eat. Double or triple as necessary but do not tell anyone it is a plant-strong recipe! This ensures that you have something to eat and shares the love of something healthy to consume. Just be warned, people will most likely love it, inhale it and then ask what was in it.
  • Give the gift of health. Do you know someone who is struggling with trying to eat healthy but just cannot seem to get on track? Maybe they are the only plant-strong person in their family? Why not gift them the Engine 2 Meal Planner for a few months to test it out? The recipes can be geared to single servings made in 5 minutes or less in some instances. This would really benefit someone who is just starting out eating plant-strong and needs some guidance.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away AND can make a teacher smile. Sadly our classrooms are just as full of treats and sugar bombs as the offices across most of corporate America. Our amazing teachers mold, educate and love our children daily so course we want to say thank you during the holidays! The trick is finding a healthy way to do it. Forget Starbucks gift cards or baked goods instead jump onto Pinterest and find a craft if that is your thing. I made mason jar pen and pencil holders and added Amazon gift cards (and I am not crafty at all). The teachers loved it! Teachers are always looking for more supplies for their classrooms. You can also consider ideas like gift-cards to the movies so they can spend the holiday with their family. Home-made cards from the kids sharing what they loved most about the year so far, is always a hit with teachers. Add some flowers and you have a great heartfelt gift sure to make them smile.
  • The dreaded dining out disease! Are you forced to dine out with friends, family or coworkers at a restaurant you know will not cater to your plant-strong life? Do not let it turn you into a Scrooge! Accept the situation for what it is. It is a social gathering so be social! If you cannot call the restaurant in advance and arrange something for yourself, be sure to eat before you go. Fill up on greens and potatoes so you’ll be plenty satiated. The bottom line is spending time with those you care about not about what is on your plate or theirs. A simple, “I ate before I came,” or “You know, I am just not that hungry today but I am so interested in your new job! Tell me about it!” can really change one’s attitude. Shift the conversation away from food and back onto whoever you are talking to. Ask about their kids, their grandkids, their work or travel. Engage in meaningful conversation which also means listening! If you can truly listen to what someone is talking about instead of focusing on what you cannot eat, you will be inclined to ask questions and you may just learn a lot more about someone you thought you knew well.

The holidays can be a stressful time regardless if you are plant-strong. Do not let what you eat or what you do not eat, be the center of your holiday season. Remember what the holidays are about and focus on being your best self both in your health and towards others.

Stay Plant-Strong!