As the time to celebrate with friends and family draws closer, it’s good to be aware of the health and nutrition habits that can fade during the holiday season. Healthy holidays are possible, but there are steps that need to be taken to stay on track as the temptations of holiday parties, warm blankets and delicious sweets start to swirl around us.
Our 8 Tips for Healthy Holidays:
- Follow the 80/20 rule. It’s okay to indulge during healthy holidays, but make sure it’s just indulging and not habit-forming. At least 80% of what you are consuming should be very healthy and 20% can be the holiday treats you’ve been waiting for. Hold out for the treats you really love so you don’t give up health and consume extra calories for something you can’t fully enjoy.
- Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals will not compensate for an unhealthy treat you had at a party. In fact, it could make you even hungrier and increase your likeliness to overeat. Be sure to eat a sensible meal before you attend holiday gatherings so you can enjoy a few treats without having to fill your stomach with party food. Having healthy holidays means you will have to plan ahead so prepare your meals in advance.
- Eat your veggies. Half of every meal should be fruits and veggies, so make sure they make their way onto your plate. If you are bringing a dish to share, make it vegetable-based without adding too many ingredients that could quickly make it unhealthy. For healthy holidays, you can always find healthy alternatives for your favorite dishes - all it takes is a quick google search.
- Size matters. Think about portion control, don’t let your eyes get bigger than your stomach. It’s always better to start of small and you can get more if you need to. Be sure to save room for dessert, or you shouldn’t eat it at all. Healthy holidays usually include stocking up on some healthy snacks that will keep your stomach satisfied, such as nuts and jerky so you always having something healthy to snack on if you need to.
- Drink wisely. It’s easy to really up the calorie and sugar intake without even noticing when it comes to holiday beverages. What’s worse, liquids don’t typically make you feel full so you are likely to eat the same amount of food in addition to the beverage. It’s a good idea to set a beverage limit for yourself and then drink water or herbal tea for the rest of the night.
- Limit stress. Grocery and Christmas shopping, cleaning, organizing and traveling are just a few of the things that can contribute to a stressful season. Make sure you can enjoy healthy holidays by taking steps to limit stress. Get enough sleep every night, delegate tasks that you might not have time for and take some time for yourself.
- Focus on fun - not food. For healthy holidays, focus on the fun, tradition and people that you are surrounded by during the holidays. If you focus on the food, it will become a priority. If you can focus on the memories you are making, it is much easier to stay healthy and satisfied during the holiday season.
- Stay physically active. This can be very different for everyone, but there is no denying that healthy holidays must include physical activity. Maybe it’s time to indulge in those extra yoga classes or to try a quick workout at home. Perhaps this means committing to taking a walk with your family after every meal or spending an extra 10 minutes walking around the mall after your Christmas shopping. Figure out what physical activity will work best with your schedule and start fitting it in today!
Follow this Healthy Holidays Guide to make sure you can enjoy the season without sacrificing health or nutrition. Remember, the holiday season is supposed to be relaxing and fun, not something we should have to recover from because of poor health and nutrition choices. Make the right choices and your holidays will be healthy, happy and memorable!