The holidays are a busy time of year, and because of that, we all tend to change our typical schedules. With ample opportunities to eat sugary, festive foods and skip workouts for holiday activities, maintaining a healthy routine can sometimes be challenging!
While many struggle to find balance during this season, it is entirely possible to enjoy the festivities while also maintaining your goals.
Here are some simple strategies that will help keep you on track so that you can enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season.
From family dinners to cocktail parties, eating healthy during the holidays can be overwhelming. A key component to staying on track amidst all the temptation is to be mindful of your eating and your attitude toward food.
Here’s what mindful holiday eating can look like:
- Don’t skip meals. It is not wise to restrict your calories in preparation for a big holiday dinner. Nourish your body with a balanced breakfast and lunch, just as you would any day. Not eating enough during the day will cause blood sugar dysregulation and only make you more likely to binge at dinner. Rather than showing up to dinner starving and making a beeline for the cheese board, eat your regular meals beforehand– you’ll be able to make smarter choices and enjoy your food, too!
- Stay well hydrated. With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we can easily forget to drink enough water. Make it your goal this December to always have a water bottle by your side to support your health. Hydration makes us feel more full, preventing overeating. It also aids in digestion, mood, focus, and energy levels. If you’re celebrating with an alcoholic drink or two this year, water will help offset the dehydrating effects of alcohol. It’s recommended to have a full glass of water in between every alcoholic beverage.
- Prioritize fruits & veggies. Rather than focusing on all the things you can’t have, fill your plate with an abundance of nutrient-dense foods like fresh seasonal vegetables, colorful fruits, and lean proteins. When you prioritize foods that leave you satiated and meet your nutritional needs, the occasional indulgence is possible, because you won’t feel the need to overeat the less healthy options.
- Plan your meals thoughtfully. Planning your meals is a great tool to have under your belt this holiday season. It can help you to consistently make good nutritional choices and stay on track with your goals. Plus, planning your meals ahead of time avoids food waste, saves time and money!
- Support your health with supplements. Between changes in temperatures, traveling, sleep and routine disruptions, and nutritional challenges, the holidays can be hard on our immune systems. Supplementing with high-quality vitamins & minerals can help ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs. With sunlight levels dropping, vitamin D is an excellent supplement to support your hormone balance, mood, and bone health. Additionally, magnesium, omega 3s, and probiotics are beneficial supplements year-round. As always, speak with a healthcare provider before taking any new supplementation!
As your calendar fills up with holiday parties and events, fitting in exercise can seem impossible. Even if you don’t exercise as much as you would the rest of the year, getting some form of activity daily will still benefit your overall physical and mental health.
Here are some tips for staying fit amid the festivities:
- Pre-plan your workouts. Rather than trying to squeeze workouts in at the end of a busy day, plan them out ahead of time. Even if the plan changes, you’ll be more likely to follow through with a workout you’ve already committed to in your calendar. Try to plan for simple, low-maintenance workouts that require little equipment – maybe a 10-minute body-weight routine or a light jog. This way, if you’re traveling or staying with relatives, you know that you can get your exercise in without having to find a nearby gym.
- Make it an activity. The holidays are a time to spend time with your friends and family. Rather than gathering around the TV, try to get outside together. You can catch up during a nature walk or make new memories by trying an exercise class.
- Move, move, move! Even if you have less time for your regular workouts, simply staying active and moving is key. Little things like taking the stairs, parking further away, or cleaning the house can go a long way. Put on some festive music and get moving!
Maintaining a good balance between work, life, family and other commitments is crucial for mental well-being during the busy holiday season. Remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to give your energy to others!
Here are a few ideas for taking care of you:
- Maintain a healthy and consistent bedtime routine. Being well-rested is one of the best gifts you can give yourself (and those around you!). Try to reduce your screen time and caffeine/sugar intake in the hours before bed. Sleeping in a cool, clean, and dark room is also beneficial for restful sleep.
- Set healthy boundaries. Repeat after us:It is OK to say no to an event or party if it means saying yes to your health! While we all want to please our friends and families remember not to stretch yourself too thin this year.
- Practice mindfulness and gratitude. The holidays don’t always bring joy – sometimes they come along with feelings of guilt, loneliness, and stress. Shifting your mindset to gratitude can help mitigate some of these feelings when they come up. Enjoy the meals you get to eat and the company you get to keep. We recommend journaling or keeping a gratitude journal, which has been shown to greatly reduce stress levels. You may even find you carry this practice into the New Year!
We hope these tips will help you enjoy the holiday season happily and healthily. While it can be challenging at times, taking care of your health is a must for enjoying the festivities fully.
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