Skip to main content

Staying healthy over the holidays

staying healthy

It’s that time of year again! This month is filled with celebrations, traditions, and gatherings with our loved ones. And, it’s notoriously famous for being a season of abundant indulgence. 

Maintaining healthy habits during December can be difficult because of changes in schedules, harsh weather, traveling and our passion for indulging in special foods or treats. Around the holidays, food means more than energy– it becomes one of those ways we show love to our family and friends. So Grandma’s pumpkin pie or Mom’s roast turkey can’t be taken out of the menu willy-nilly, as they are part of the many traditions we celebrate around the holidays.

We all want to enjoy the best parts of the season, but not at the expense of our health or energy. So, if you catch yourself reaching for that extra drink or going back for more cookies to manage the stress of the holidays, please pause and ask yourself: “Why?” Are there other ways you could release some of that pressure?  

If your weekends are packed with social activities, make sure you focus on your evergreen habits during the week. Stay active, feel good, enjoy your favorite fruits and vegetables, and make balanced food choices on the days between parties.

Here are some extra tips that can help you stay on track with your healthy goals and enjoy this holiday season:

1.    Drink water instead of soda. Stay hydrated.

2.    Fill half of your plate with vegetables.

3.    Choose fresh fruit as a sweet instead of candy.

4.    Take a walk or a hike with your loved ones, or dance to holiday music.

5.    Avoid overeating by taking a 5-minute pause before jumping into the second dish. Chewing gum or eating a mint in between servings can also help.

6.    Choose a smaller size plate. This will help you eat less by slowing you down and giving your brain the time to feel satiety cues, also known as feeling satiated and ready to stop eating.

7.    Plan ahead. Whether you balance your nights out with home cooked meals the next day or map out a party plan in your head before you go, the more mindfulness you can practice the better. Think about the events ahead: you’ll have your mom’s famous pie on Christmas and will enjoy the eggnog with bourbon for New Year’s Eve. This will allow you to enjoy everything; just not all at once.

8.    Manage stress. We know this increases around this time due to traveling, spending money, family and/or work commitments. Make sure you start by getting enough rest to recharge (seven to eight hours for adults; nine to 10 hours for teens; 10 to 12 hours for young children). Watch for warning signs of too much stress, including anxiety, sadness, tension, anger or loss of appetite. You can manage stress by seeking support from loved ones, staying active, getting enough rest, limiting, or avoiding alcohol, getting a massage, praying, or meditating and eating a healthy diet.

9.    Enjoy one bite of all the desserts you want by taking smaller portions. Don’t feel the pressure to have a full size serving of each. This can allow you to taste everything and not exceed your nutritional needs.

10. Stay active! Fresh air is good for EVERYTHING. And physical activity goes a long way to boost your mood. Take a walk with your family or friends, this can make a big difference.

Enjoy spending quality time with loved ones, reflect on the things that matter most to you, and be thankful for your blessings and appreciate the gift of health. Be happy, healthy, safe, and blessed during this holiday season – and beyond!