Valentines Day just passed, and before that the Super Bowl was on everyone’s calendar. These are two days with pretty iconic food (chocolate galore, nachos, pizza, wings, etc) and those “indulgences” can make a lot of people sweat. Better-for-you party snacks are all over pinterest, and there’s so much talk about how to order at restaurants so you don’t overindulge. We spend so much effort worrying about how to lighten up our once a year dishes, but we spend so little thinking about the rest of our days.
You can probably guess from the title of this post that the rest of the year is what’s much more important. If we are eating with a general awareness of including fruits and vegetables most days, then the treats on holidays are no big deal! I’d actually say they’re a big deal because of how delicious they are, but they won’t make or break your health status. Part of enjoying holidays (or even just special events!) is enjoying the food that helps to bring people together. Those are not the times to be uber focused on nutrition. Of course if you dig into nothing but fudgy chocolate brownies everyday you will be missing out on key nutrients….but I would never tell you to lighten up those brownies for Valentines (or galentines!) dessert!
Gentle nutrition is in fact one of the principles of intuitive eating. As someone studying nutrition I would not try to tell you that fruits and veggies aren’t important, but they aren’t the absolute most important thing on, say, Thanksgiving day (the pie is definitely most important). See what I mean here? If you are eating with an awareness of the nutrients your body needs and craves, you can absolutely allow those “indulgences” that everyone seems to think must be turned into health foods before eaten. A real deal treat is a perfect part of celebration and a necessary part of life. I know it can be hard to resist all the messaging about how to healthify your sweets, but remember that the real thing will give you that satisfaction factor. So let’s get started planning green treats for St. Patty’s Day!