Are you wondering how you can stay healthy this holiday season? It’s that time of year again when we are hunting for gifts and looking forward to receiving them. We are busy planning on what treats to cook up for the Christmas and New Year celebration. This is a time where we can indulge our cravings for our favorite foods; while bonding with our loved ones and close friends.
This is also the time of year when most people tend to throw out any diet plans. We cross our fingers and just promise ourselves to start over again in the new year. But indulging in the holidays doesn’t mean you should forget about your health. Here are some tips that you can follow to keep you healthy during the holidays. This way, you don’t need to work too hard on your health resolutions for the new year.
1. Keep moving
We know you won’t be able to say no to most party invites. This is a time to catch up with friends and family after all. You can still keep up your exercise routine beforehand or after. You can at least offset all the sitting that you have to do during long, family meals.
Is there cooking involved? Volunteer to do the shopping so you don’t have to spend the whole day just sitting. You will just end up being tempted to keep eating afterwards. You can also play some music and do some dancing to encourage other people to keep moving as well. This is one way to keep yourself, and your loved ones, healthy this holiday season.
2. Don’t shop when you’re hungry
This applies to your grocery shopping for the whole year. But this is even more critical during the holiday season. This is the time when all the good-looking and special food treats are out for display. Make sure to eat your meal or get a snack first before going to the grocery store. This prevents you from the temptation to buy more than what you need to.
A grocery list is always handy. With a list, you are not tempted to wander the isles looking for what you might need. This also means that you can keep to your healthy choices and stay on budget.
3. Pick healthy substitutes
Stick to your healthy choices to ensure that you eat delicious but still healthy food. Stock up on healthy alternatives and your favorite spices to make your cooking experience a fun one. This means less worries on digestive issues and weight issues in the coming new year.
Check out this guide on how to stretch your food budget for tips on healthier alternatives to some food items. Being mindful of what you put into your body helps ensure that you can stay healthy this holiday season.
4. Keep only healthy snacks
To be able to stick to your healthy routine, you need to be ready at all times. Be sure to keep only healthy snacks around the house so you won’t be tempted to indulge in unhealthy treats. For example, if you love snacking on chocolate; then keep chocolate around but be sure it is dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage. 60% and above is considered healthier than the usual milk chocolate which also has added sugars.
Other snacks you can opt for are nuts and oatmeal bars. Carry these snacks on your purse or bag too. You will have a healthy snack ready to grab when hunger pangs come up.
5. Portion control
Have a light snack before going to a party. This ensures that you do not over eat. Plus, you can keep a good conversation going with your colleagues and friends instead.
If you can’t eat a light snack beforehand; then be sure to eat mindfully and watch what and how much you eat. In a buffet, take only as much as you think you can eat. Avoid the temptation of piling up food on your plate. Get a little of everything you like and take a taste of each. You can always go back for a second helping of whatever food treat you like. Make sure that you eat different foods from these major food groups to maximize their health benefits.
6. Eat slowly
The holiday season is a celebration of all the blessings we have received the whole year. It should be celebrated with an attitude of gratefulness. One way to show this attitude is to eat slowly and mindfully. Learn to appreciate the food you are eating; where it came from and how it came to be on your table.
Eating slowly also ensures that you are able to feel how full you already are so you do not overeat. Instead you can pay attention to the other people around your table as you enjoy your food.
7. Stay hydrated
The holiday season may mean cold weather but that shouldn’t be an excuse to forget keeping yourself hydrated. Drink hot tea or hot chocolate if you can’t stand cold water in cold weather. Keep a thermos with you so you always have a hot drink on hand. Keeping yourself hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy this holiday season.
Another way to make sure you get your adequate intake of liquids is to have a soup with your meals. They can be warm and hearty like the comfort foods our mom cooked for us when we were younger.
8. Minimize the sugar
All the sweet treats will be out on the shelves and cooking in the kitchens this holiday season. Be sure to mind your portions and eat in moderation. Avoid over indulging in sugary treats as much as possible.
Sugar is the number one cause of weight gain. You don’t want to waste all the workout you did. Go for the veggie side dishes and eat fruits for dessert instead of the cupcakes. If you have to, find a friend to eat half of it.
9. Go easy on the booze
It is said, that beer can be a healthy drink if taken once in a while. Other beverages such as sodas and wine do have a lot of sugar content in them so don’t over indulge. Sip slowly and drink double the amount of water to your booze right after.
Minimizing on the booze not only means that you stay healthy. It also means you don’t suffer a hangover the morning after. You also avoid any of the unpleasant consequences you might get into when you let go of being sober.
10. Get enough sleep
The holiday season also means lots of party invites and a lot of sleepless nights. But it doesn’t have to result in fatigue on your part. Make sure to schedule your party nights so that you can still get some rest the next day.
Maybe only go to parties on a weekend. Pick the party where you will see most of your friends.
You don’t need to go to all the parties that each friend invites you to. After all, you won’t be an enjoyable companion if you’re struggling to stay awake throughout a party. Having good sleep ensures that you can stay consistent with your morning routine. Don’t forget these daily healthy habits too.
We hope these tips help to keep you healthy during the holidays and the coming new year. These should keep you sober enough to actually be up until midnight on Christmas and on New Year’s eve. Happy holidays!
Updated. First published on Pinoy Smart Living on 12.16.2018