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As the sweet and savory smells of holiday cooking waft throughout your home, what do you notice happening in your body? Do you salivate, take a deep breath in and smile with contentment or does an internal voice whisper “I can’t eat it?” We’re here to tell you: Yes, you can!

The word “no” may be in the name November, but this month we’re kicking off a season of “YESvember,” because the word “no” has no place in the holiday season when it comes to the foods we love.

It’s More Than Permission

We all have a relationship with the food we eat. Is your language around food, and how you handle the food you eat, healthful and helpful?

An unhealthy relationship with food can run the gamut from siloing foods into “good” and “bad” categories, purposely steering clear of specific Food Groups such as fruits or feeling bad about overeating highly palatable foods. This kind of relationship can lead to creating food rules or feeling you need permission to eat certain foods.

Instead of thinking you need permission to enjoy all the offerings on your holiday table, recognize that you have the right to eat whatever, whenever and how much you choose. That said, a clear understanding of your intent going into the celebrations of the season may be worthwhile.

What Do You Want?

As you eat your way through the weeks between Halloween and New Year’s day, think about what you want. Do you want to consistently overindulge until you feel stuffed and uncomfortable? Do you want to visit family and friends while depriving yourself of their classic dishes? Or do you want to make it through the holidays feeling satisfied while enjoying recipes you only come across once or twice a year? Once you know what you’re aiming to accomplish then your path through the holiday season will become easier to navigate.

It’s About Planning

Whether you’re managing your weight, have a medical condition impacted by food like diabetes or none of the above, showing up to a party feeling ravenous can work against your nutrition goals. Be mindful and plan to nip hunger in the bud by eating a snack ahead of time.

Satiate appetite with a snack that provides a source of carbohydrates paired with protein and a little bit of fat. Great tasting, transportable options are a small apple with walnuts, half a banana and peanut butter sandwich or thawed frozen raspberries mixed into unsweetened Greek yogurt.

By eating a small snack before get-togethers, your food choices will be more purposeful. You’ll be able to enjoy a taste of Mom’s apple pie and taste your Uncle’s zucchini pancakes without letting hunger and cravings lead to overeating.

Celebrate Like A Kid

How many five-year-olds restrain themselves from enjoying the foods they love? Not many. Lean into the same “anything goes” mentality for the recipes you prepare and the foods you enjoy. If you feel giddy eating sweet potato casserole or homemade cranberry sauce, enjoy them. And just like a young child, listen to your body’s cues for when you begin to feel full.

In the end, what are the majority of holiday recipes based in? Fruits and vegetables! The holidays are the perfect union of nutrition and flavor…so what is there to say “no” to?

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