Integrative Nutrition Blog

Crowding Out: The Healthy Way to Ride Out the Holidays

November 17, 2014

Halloween kicked off the season of sugar, and with Thanksgiving and other holidays coming up - not to mention the temptation for comfort foods during the cold weather months - it seems that unhealthy choices are everywhere.

Integrative Nutrition’s approach to situations like this is crowding out.

This concept truly flips the conventional belief about dieting on its head by adding more healthy foods to the diet rather than taking things away. By eating more vegetables, fruits, and other nutrient-dense foods, your cravings for less healthy foods will naturally diminish. There simply isn’t room for junk food and unhealthy overeating when you’re satisfied and nourished by real food!

While most conventional diets are governed by strict rules and deprivation, Integrative Nutrition takes a more gradual path towards helping students and their clients reach a state of balance. Taking small daily steps and focusing on increasing healthy food rather than avoiding indulgences creates a much more positive framework for implementing lasting change.

Here are a few ways you can begin experimenting with crowding out in your own diet:

  1. Drink more water. Sometimes what we experience as cravings or hunger are actually the body’s misunderstood signals of dehydration. Simply increasing your water intake will reduce your desire for other beverages and unhealthy snacks between meals.
  2. Eat the healthiest foods first. When in the midst of holiday festivities that are centered around food consumption, load up your plate with the healthiest options first. If your belly is full of salad and raw veggies, cooked vegetables, and whole grains then you’re far less likely to overconsume the meats, starches, and desserts.
  3. Plan ahead. Whether it’s for the holidays or just a regular workweek, planning what you’ll eat in advance will greatly help you implement crowding out into your lifestyle. Perhaps this means brining a healthy dish to share for the holidays, or packing carrot sticks and healthy dinner leftovers to eat at work the next day. If you plan ahead, you’re more likely to stay satisfied with the good stuff and avoid having to consume less healthy alternatives due to a lack of options.

The great thing about crowding out is that it doesn’t have to mean going without your favorite foods. The holidays, after all, are a time to enjoy the company of your loved ones and sometimes that involves a little indulgence. Follow the steps above to apply thoughtful moderation, and experience just a taste of what the Integrative Nutrition curriculum has to offer.

How do you focus on crowding out in your diet and lifestyle? Share with us in the comments below!

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