By Caroline Mackey, RNCP, ROHP, CNP, PTS – Holistic Nutritionist & Fitness Coach
It’s that time of year again. Time to make merry, be jolly and bright…. and oftentimes overindulge with food and drink. The sweets and treats and cheese-filled goodies are all around us. So how can we stay on track and be healthy over the holidays when it seems pretty impossible? Here’s my top 5 tips:
1. Stick to a routine, even over the holidays.
Routines help keep your body and mind on track. Often what happens is our meal prep and exercise routines go out the window over the holidays. Some allowances of course have to be made depending on if you’re traveling and the like, but the idea is to keep as much of your routine in place as you can. This is especially important for sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep hormones are out of whack making you more hungry and less able to control your appetite. And when you move less and become more sedentary you lose energy, stress is harder to manage, and your food intake can be overdone. Keep your water intake consistent. Dehydration feels like hunger so you will be more likely to overeat when you don’t get enough water.
2. Get your family and friends on board with healthy eating over the holidays.
Going to a potluck dinner with friends? Bring a big hearty healthy dish like a lentil salad or a vegetarian casserole. If you’re hosting, ask everyone to bring a healthy side dish instead of the typical high sugar, fat and dairy options.
3. Make your get togethers active ones.
Getting together with family friends? Meet up at a local skating rink; the kids sledding; go for a walk outside instead of a coffee shop meetup; try a new yoga or fitness class with friends; after a big dinner get the whole family outside to a park to run around with a ball… the list goes on. Not all activities need to be based around food and drink.
4. Be prepared.
If you know you’re going to a party where it will be lots of booze and deep fried appetizer type things then eat before you go. Offer to be the designated driver and don’t drink, or plan to keep it to just one drink. If you’re going to a friend or family’s place offer to help out and then make a healthy dessert (foodmatters.com has lots of great ideas).
5. Relax and enjoy yourself; just keep it balanced.
Let’s get real – there are lovely and delicious indulgences like the perfect gingerbread cookie or your Mom’s famous homemade stuffing. And that’s perfectly ok. The holidays shouldn’t be a time to be stressed about food. Enjoy those special foods in moderation, and balance it out with lots of vegetables, water and overall healthy food choices.
Bonus: practice self care.
Carve a little time out for yourself to help reset your body and mind. Go for a bath, try a restorative yoga class, get a massage, and so forth. Give yourself the gift of some self care and you’ll be all the better for it in the new year.
Happy holidays everyone!