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Eating Healthy While Visiting Relatives, Eating Out & Enjoying Holidays

Nov 24, 2020

I recently visited my sister and brother-in-law at their cabin in Georgia. I not only wanted to eat healthy while there, but I wanted to cook healthy food for my sister & brother-in-law too. They were interested in my way of eating and welcomed my cooking for them.


Later, I visited my daughter and her family in North Carolina. My son-in-law prepared the meals for their family and we ate restaurant food twice during my visit. Believe it or not, I was able to make all whole food plant-based choices for every meal during both of these situations. I also stayed full and satisfied.


Most of you, who follow me closely, know that I eat a whole food plant-based diet. I do this mostly for my health, but the weight loss is exciting too. After developing high blood pressure, on top of my already high cholesterol, I decided to take control of my health. I had already done a lot of research on this way of eating and my doctor encouraged it. I had even practiced it a little, but when my health started going downhill, I knew it was time to make a permanent change.


Obviously, I cook a lot. So, how did I visit relatives for several days and maintain my healthy eating habits? How do I cook for others and keep my food choices compliant with my WFPB way of eating? How do I eat out and still make good choices? I’m glad you asked.


The first thing you must do is make a plan. Write it down. Decide what meals you will prepare and what groceries you will need.


When packing to visit my relatives, I took 2 boxes and one large cooler of groceries. I know it takes some effort. If it prevents me from having open heart surgery someday, it’s worth it.


I kept my groceries in my trunk and went back and forth for things I needed. I already had meal plans written out, as well as recipes I would need. I also packed my rice cooker and my blender, because I use them regularly. I kept those in my car too, until I needed them. I tried to keep "my stuff" out of the way as much as possible. Another alternative would be to prepare meals prior to your trip, package them in individual servings, and keep them in your cooler until needed.


When eating at restaurants, I looked at the menu before choosing which restaurant. Thankfully, my relatives are very supportive of my eating efforts. I can eat Mexican (rice, beans, salad, veggie fajitas, avocado salad, etc.), Thai or Japanese (rice, grilled veggies, rice noodles, tofu, etc.), Mediterranean (hummus, pitas, falafels, salad, etc.) or most any other restaurant (baked potato, baked sweet potato, salad, bean burgers, etc.).


I walked with my relatives while visiting them. That was a treat. My sister had some BIG hills in her neighborhood. It was nice to walk and talk with the people I love so dearly. It was also good to get some fresh air.


If you are committed to your health and to eating healthy daily, you can make it work no matter where you are visiting. Even during a holiday. Listen, we can’t use holidays as an excuse to put crap in our bodies. Our health is very important. Make some “special foods” that are healthy for the holidays, but stay compliant with your food plan (even if you have to cook some separate foods for your spouse or family.)


Some people ask me, “Brenda, can’t you have a few cheat days?” I’ve been on that bus before……on my diet and off my diet, on my diet and off my diet. Do you know where that gets you? Nowhere. People, my taste buds have changed and I don’t crave sweets anymore. THIS IS A MIRACLE. So, do I want to cheat by putting fatty, sugar-laden foods in my body again…….not knowing when that spiral will end? Nope. I’m an old woman, with experience on my side. A permanent change is what I need, not a temporary fix.


So, how can you eat healthy while visiting relatives, eating out, and enjoying holidays?


Plan. Make it happen. Take responsibility. Do it for your health. Do it every day. Even when you visit relatives. Even when you eat out. Even during holidays. Enjoy good, healthy food. Fix some special healthy foods for the holidays. And take a walk. Make this a permanent change.