Holidays can be fun - it’s a time to make memories, pass along traditions, and celebrate with family and friends. But we’ve all experienced the stress of the holidays, too! The stress and celebration and be enough to sabotage your health and wellbeing… if you let it. Don’t let the holidays hijack your health! Making time to be active will inspire you to make better food choices, will rev up your metabolism, and help you manage holiday stress. And a good night’s sleep is essential for survival with your health in tact. Here are some other tips for making your health a priority during this busy time of year:
Travel can make eating healthy a challenge - from airports and fast-food pit stops, to the candy dishes at grandma’s, eating healthy on the road takes some strategy. Plan ahead to be sure you have healthy options available.
Pack a bag with non-perishable snacks - stick to foods that have 5 ingredients or less.
Bring a picnic to have at a rest stop for a long car ride.
Find a grocery store to buy whole food snacks and easy meals when you reach your destination.
Staying with friends or relatives? Offer to prepare meals or side dishes that support your dietary goals.
As a child, my mom and I spent hours baking Christmas cookies, cakes and breads to share with neighbors and teachers (and my stomach, of course) - it was something I looked forward to each year! But when, as an adult, my family kicked the sugar habit it meant we had to start new traditions that allowed us to spend quality time together and enjoy the gift of giving.
Start a new tradition! Take on a craft project your friends will treasure instead baking cookies.
Spend that time outside doing a fun, family activity like a hike, a game of tag or flag football, or family bike ride.
Don’t want to give up baking? Try a new recipe! Opt for recipes that use natural sweeteners like honey, molasses or maple syrup instead of refined sugar.
Give more, keep less - if you do bake, give them away! Freeze leftovers immediately: they’ll be out of sight, out of mind. Serve them when you have guests.
Party like it’s 1999?
Is your calendar full of parties and family meals? Avoid that heavy, bloated feeling at the end of fun day by being prepared and committed to making good choices when you’re entertaining or being entertained.
Stick to your schedule - don’t starve yourself all day in preparation for the holiday meal or party or you’ll end up overeating.
Only take food that you really want to eat - don’t eat it if it doesn’t taste good!
Load your plate with vegetables, include a variety of vegetable-based dishes on the table including dips, kabobs, platters and salads. Use a variety of seasonings and healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil and avocado to enrich the flavor of seasonal vegetables like pumpkin, winter squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower and others.
Bring a dish that supports your dietary goals - avoid the temptation of a cheese-laden dip with chips that may sabotage your best efforts.
Drinking alcohol? Choose sparkling water with a splash of juice or squeeze or lime or lemon as a mixer - this means fewer empty calories.