5 Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays
The holiday season is a time of celebration, joy and good food. But it can be easy to overindulge in all the treats we come across during this festive time of year. Instead of beating yourself up for sneaking too many sweets, try these simple eating tips so you can enjoy all your favorite holiday dishes without feeling guilty afterward. Staying healthy doesn’t have to feel like torture: if you stick to these 5 tips throughout the holidays, you’ll find that even your indulgences are easier on your body!
- Avoid processed foods: During the holidays, it can be tempting to indulge in all of the delicious processed foods that are available. However, these foods are often high in sugar, fat and calories, and can contribute to weight gain and other health problems. Processed foods are typically high in sodium and unhealthy fats like trans fats. Consuming too much of these unhealthy ingredients can have a significant impact on your long-term health. Eating too much sodium can increase your risk of high blood pressure, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Trans fats are particularly dangerous because they can raise your bad cholesterol levels while lowering your good cholesterol levels, thus increasing your risk of heart disease. Additionally, processed foods often contain artificial flavors and preservatives that can lead to headaches or gastrointestinal issues. In addition to the health risks associated with eating excessive amounts of processed foods, there is also the issue of weight gain. Processed foods are typically low in fiber which means that you will not feel full for very long after consuming them. This leads to overeating which can cause weight gain over time if not managed properly. Furthermore, many processed foods contain added sugar which has been linked to obesity and diabetes.
- Watch your portion sizes: The holidays are a time when it’s easy to overindulge in delicious, calorie-packed treats. But while these dishes may be tempting, overeating can lead to indigestion, lethargy or worse. It’s important to take note of how much you’re putting on your plate. If you’re at a buffet table or potluck party, start with smaller portions and go back for more if you’re still hungry. This will help prevent you from taking too much food at once and will also give your stomach time to digest what has been consumed. Instead of focusing on how much food is left on the plate, focus on listening to your body’s cues. Eating slowly gives your body time to register that it’s full and satisfied. If you find yourself getting full before finishing your meal, stop eating until you feel better. It’s OK to leave food behind—there may even be someone else who would love a few extra bites.
- Fill up on healthy foods first: Filling up on healthier fare before reaching for the more decadent options helps to keep your calorie count in check. Eating fruits and vegetables may not seem as exciting as sampling all the delicious treats available at a buffet, but adding healthy items onto your plate can help create balance. Additionally, by filling up on fiber-rich veggies and fruits, you’ll stay full longer and feel more energized throughout the rest of the evening—without feeling weighed down from too much food or processed sugar.
- Limit your alcohol intake: The holidays can involve many occasions for celebration, as well as for indulging in alcoholic beverages. But it’s important to remember that alcohol can be high in calories and sugar, and can contribute to weight gain if not consumed in moderation.If you plan on drinking alcohol during the holidays, try to choose lower-calorie options such as light beer or wine spritzers. You might also consider adding a splash of calorie-free mixers like soda water or low-calorie juice instead of sugary syrups and juices. These options will help reduce the number of calories per glass while still allowing you to enjoy your favorite drinks. It’s easy to overindulge when drinking alcoholic beverages, so it’s important to keep track of how much you are consuming. A standard serving size is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of hard liquor; any more than that is considered overindulging. Also, keep an eye out for portion sizes when ordering from bars and restaurants – oftentimes these servings are larger than a standard pour! Alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages can help keep your consumption in check while still allowing you to fully enjoy your night out (or in!). Non-alcoholic options like sparkling water with a splash of juice or flavored seltzer water are good choices that will keep your calorie count down while helping you stay hydrated throughout the night.
- Get moving: With the holidays in full swing, it can be difficult to stay on track with your exercise routine. But don’t let that hold you back from keeping up with your health and fitness goals! Exercise plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy weight and preventing obesity.
Going for a walk or light jog is one of the easiest ways to get your heart rate up without having to commit to intense physical activity. This type of low-impact exercise requires little preparation—all you need is comfortable clothing, a good pair of shoes, and some motivation! Plus, walking or jogging outside offers plenty of fresh air and natural beauty that can help clear your head and relax after all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
The holidays are a time to enjoy friends, family and food. However, it’s important to remember your health during this festive time of year. Hopefully, these tips will help you stay healthy so that you can fully enjoy the holiday season! If you find yourself struggling to stick to healthy habits, contact me and I would be happy to help you create a plan that works for you. Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!