Q: I’m the “weird” healthy one of the family. How do I minimize imposing my dietary needs on family and friends during the holidays, especially as a guest in their house?
Brandon Marsh answers:
A: This is always a touchy subject. Discussing nutrition or diets is akin to talking politics or religion; everyone is passionate about their way of eating.
Since the holidays are commonly celebrated around a buffet of food, this time of year is particularly tricky for all of us “health nuts” trying not to offend our loved ones. But with this healthy holiday guest guide, you can have your quinoa stuffed squash and eat it, too!
1. Have a snack before you go. This doesn’t mean you consume a full dinner or holiday feast of your own. But have a quick bite to eat before leaving; something that will stave off hunger and help keep you from overeating once you get to the party. I like Bonk Breaker High Protein Peanut Butter & Jelly bars, because they provide 15 grams of filling protein, are gluten and dairy free, have only 240 calories and satisfy my sweet tooth!
2. BYOD: Bring your own dish. You don’t need to make the main course, but prepare a side dish that you know you will feel good about eating. It also helps if you’ve made it before and know that others will enjoy your homemade goodness as much as you do. (If you’re stuck for ideas, try this vegan recipe for zucchini “noodles” with broccoli pesto that can serve several).
3. Drink responsibly. Holiday drinks can be a hidden source of unnecessary calories. If you’re going to imbibe, I suggest keeping it to no more than three drinks and alternating with a glass of water.
4. Be gracious and spirited. I know, obsessing is a triathlete’s nature, but try not to mull over your eating habits right now. Instead, focus your energy on the time and opportunity to spend with friends and family. Be thankful for the invitation and enjoy the moment – it will be gone before you know it!
Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. ‘Like’ them on Facebook or follow on Twitter: Brandon @BrandonMarshTX and Amy @AmyCMarsh.