5 Ways to Keep the Focus on Family (not food) at Your Holiday Gathering


One of the highlights of the Holiday season is getting together with family and friends that we often do not see on a regular basis. Catching up with our loved ones is a beautiful get-to; however most of this reminiscing and visiting happens around the table. Coming together to break bread is fellowship at it’s finest, but what if you have been set free from an unhealthy relationship with food? The holidays, with the abundance of potlucks, snacks, and removal of routine, can be a nerve wracking time for someone walking in newly found food freedom. Here are five ways to navigate the holiday sugar rush and keep your freedom intact. Who knows? Your example of joy and peace in health could help set someone else free in the process.


Bring the Healthy Dish

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31


Potluck tables are the central focus of many holiday get-togethers. Everyone brings their signature dish that everyone looks forward to each and every year. When planning what you will contribute to the spread, consider bringing something healthy! It doesn’t have to be a boring vegetable tray, make it interesting! There are so many fun ideas for superfood packed salads, sides, and desserts out there; this could be the year your family learns they like something new and nourishing.


Plan a Group Activity

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” Hebrews 10:24


Oftentimes, eating is the only thing happening when we all come together. Why not plan something to add to the fun and fellowship? Christmas caroling at a nearby nursing home could bring cheer to many. Also, many state parks sponsor First Day Hikes on January 1st every year to kick off the year with movement. Find an activity your family can do together and start a new holiday tradition!


Remember Why You Are Gathered

“Look at how good and pleasing it is when families live together as one. ” Psalm 133:1


I have seen it many times. Your immediate family gathers with your extended family...then all sit together at a table and don’t really move. Remember: You are here to spend time with family you may not see often! Holiday get-togethers are about more than sharing a meal; this is a time to reconnect with family members we don’t get to spend time with on a regular basis. Don’t waste these precious moments. Get up, move around, and make sure you connect with everyone you love this holiday season.


Don’t Arrive on Empty

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25


You know when you get there, the dessert table will be as big as the main course table. You know that Auntie is bringing her famous corn casserole and Grandma always makes an extra plate of her sugar cookies just for you. One of the biggest mistakes that can derail our healthy lifestyle (and energy levels) at the holidays is avoiding eating all day in anticipation of the big meal ahead. We end up arriving with our stomach growling louder than our greeting and our plate ends up heaping. Be sure to eat sensible, nutrient rich meals and snacks the day of your family dinner. Come hungry, but not ravenous and deprived.


Water! Water! Water!

“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:14


Yes, there will be large pitchers of lemonade and sweet tea, as well as 2 liters of all sorts of fizzy drinks, available when you arrive. Don’t allow yourself to be filled up and sugared up with your drinks before you even get to the meal. Bring water in your favorite cup, keep it filled, keep it in your hand. Keeping hydrated with pure H2O not only prevents an extra sugar crash, but can also keep you full and able to turn down that extra plate.