It’s that time of year again when we are hunting for gifts and looking forward to receiving them as well as planning on what food treats to cook up for the Christmas eve dinner and for the New Year celebration. For most families, this is a time where they can indulge their cravings for their favorite food while bonding with their loved ones and close friends.
This is also the time of year when most people tend to throw out any diet plans and just promise themselves 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 so 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 where you have to sit down most of the time as you eat and catch up with friends and family. However, you can still keep up your exercise routine beforehand or after to at least offset all the sitting that you have to do.
If there is cooking involved, you can also volunteer to lend your help or to do the shopping so you don’t have to spend the whole day just sitting and then be tempted to keep eating. You can also play some music and do some dancing to encourage other people to keep moving as well.
2. Don’t shop when you’re hungry
This applies to your grocery shopping for the whole year but is even more critical during the holiday season when all the good-looking and special food treats are out for display. As much as possible, eat your meal or get a snack first before going to the grocery store so you aren’t tempted to buy more than you need to.
It is always good to have a grocery list as well so you are not tempted to wander the isles looking for what you might need instead of what you might actually 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. This ensures that you can indulge in some delicious food with 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.
4. Keep only healthy snacks
To be able to stick to your healthy routine, you need to be ready at all times. So 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.
Other snacks you can opt for are nuts and oatmeal bars. Carry these snacks on your purse or bag too so you have a healthy snack to grab when hunger pangs come up.
5. Portion control
Going to a party after having a light snack ensures that you do not over eat and you can keep a good conversation going with your colleagues and friends instead.
If it is not possible to eat a light snack beforehand, then be sure to eat mindfully and watch what and how much you eat. Especially in a buffet, take only as much as you think you can eat instead 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.
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 area 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.
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 so be sure to mind your portions and eat in moderation and avoid over indulging in sugary treats as much as possible.
Sugar is the number one cause of weight gain so if you don’t want to waste all the workout you did, then 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 types of 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 and you 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 or pick the party where you will see most of your friends instead of going 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.
We hope these tips help to keep you healthy for the coming new year and keep you sober enough to actually be up until midnight on Christmas and New Year’s eve. Happy holidays!