With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and cookies galore, it’s harder to make “healthy” choices during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years.
I am here to tell you that it’s OK to splurge a little and have fun with friends and family. Life is not about having such a rigid diet or avoiding certain foods that we think we “shouldn’t” have, but rather have the mind set that everything is ok in moderation.
I am personally all about eating a clean diet and working out, but I am also passionate about enjoying life. I work on self-care by relaxing and having some playtime for me, getting enough sleep, and enjoying an occasional massage. I also work to foster good relationships in my life, limit stressful interactions, and set good boundaries both personally and professionally.
If you find yourself somewhat stressed or high strung during this time of year, then I suggest reading these tips on how to stay healthy this time of year.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water is important anytime of year not just during the holidays. If you find yourself snacking on more sweets and treats during this time then simply add more water into your diet. If you feel like you are overdoing the cookies at your next Christmas party, then try to grab a glass of water before you pick up your next cookie. Water will hydrate you and you may crave the sweet treats a little less.
If you really want to up the ante on your water intake, then I would encourage you to start your day with a glass of fresh lemon water. Be sure to drink your water at room temperature and use a fresh squeezed lemon. This will give you an extra boost during the day.
2. Don’t Drink Your Sugar
Be careful not to drink your sugar. So many drinks out there are loaded with sugar. It’s important to get lots of liquids into your body but be careful not to drink too much pop, coffee (if you use cream and sugar), hot chocolate, and alcohol to name a few.
The World Health Organization recommends an adult only consume about six teaspoons –or 25 grams– of sugar per day. A can of soda contains 10 teaspoons or about 40 grams of sugar.
3. Don’t Eat Three Hours Before Bedtime
After eating, your digestive system needs time to work. Eating before bed does not allow time for your organs to rest. Eating before bed can also cause acid reflux and can disrupt your sleep.
4. Move Your Body
This point is important especially if you are tired or perhaps in a bad mood. Moving gives you energy and energy helps you feel your best.
5. Don’t Become a Cow! Avoid the Grazing!
I was at a small health talk recently learning about how to stay healthy during the holidays and this was on the list. People tend to go to more parties during time of year than any others. So if you are worried about staying healthy during your holiday parties, think ahead of time about the foods that might be there. If it’s all appetizers and snacks, then perhaps eat a small healthy meal before you go. At the party treat yourself to a few small appetizers and remember to drink plenty of water. If you attend the party on an empty stomach, you will end up grazing and eat too much food.
6. Take a Moment to Think it Through
When you are faced with a craving, take a moment to think before you give in. Ask yourself:
- Did I just eat something sweet or salty?
- Do I just want to enjoy that pleasure again?
- Have I eaten a lot of meat today? (Red meat causes cravings for sugar and alcohol)
- Am I tired?
- Am I having a hormonal day? (If you are a woman)
- Was I under any stress today? Am I trying to fill the stress hole with food?
The first step in combating your cravings is awareness.
7. Know Yourself
Everyone is different. For some eating 10 small cookies might be ok, for others one or two cookies are plenty. Knowing yourself is the key. At your next holiday party, figure out what amount of desserts and snacks is okay for you to eat and still feel good. It’s all about portion control and again everything in moderation.
8. Make Holiday Dishes Healthier
Do you find yourself making all of your family’s traditional holiday foods and desserts? Why not find ways to make them healthier. You may need to play around with the recipes a bit but here are a few tips.
- Substitute maple syrup for sugar
- Use less butter in an entrée
- Opt to make a greener dish (make a vegetable dish instead of meat and pasta)
9. Get Plenty of Sleep
Good sleep helps you make good decisions. Adequate sleep plays a key part in living a healthy lifestyle, as well as benefit your heart, weight, mind and more.
10. Find Support and Give Yourself Rewards
Take time to set goals and give yourself some rewards. Earlier I mentioned that I treat myself to an occasional massage to take care of myself. For you it might be a massage, a special dessert, a gadget or special item you want, a weekend treat. The options for you are endless but do treat yourself. Find friends, family, colleagues that you can share your goal of being healthy with.
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season does not have to be stressful. If you take time to practice some of these health tips then you are well on your way to enjoying a fun filled holiday season.