These tips to stay healthy this holiday season will help you balance happy and healthy so you feel great at the end of the night – and the end of the season!
This time of year is notoriously known for being a season of abundant indulgence. From holiday parties to cookie swaps to sipping drinks in merriment more often than not, mindlessly throwing in the towel on your usual healthy living habits can leave you feeling more than a little hungover on New Year’s Day.
We all want to enjoy the best parts of the season, but not at the expense of our health or energy. If you’re reaching for extra drinks or going back for more cookies to manage the stress of the holidays, pause and ask yourself why. Are there other ways you could release some of that pressure?
The squiggly line effect is in full effect this time of year. We naturally crave lighter weeks if our weekends are full of parties. If your weekends are packed with social activities, make sure you focus on your evergreen habits during the week. Stay active, feel good, enjoy your favorite fruits and vegetables, and make balanced food choices the days in between.
Ways To Stay Healthy This Holiday Season
Here are a few tips to stay healthy this holiday season while partaking in its best offerings as well.
Pre-Game For The Party
On healthy food – not booze! Have a salad or a hearty, nutritious snack before you head to a holiday party. My goal is always to take the edge off my appetite but not to fill up so much I don’t want anything delicious to eat. You don’t want to have to rely on cheese and crackers to satisfy your hunger, and crudités alone do not a dinner make. A simple salad before you go will help fill you up. Then you won’t be starving when you arrive and dive right into the cheese (#speakingfromexperience!)
Sip Don’t Gulp
Instead of choosing a drink that you will guzzle down and need replenishing, reach for what you want most and what you will savor. My drink of choice – juicy red wine divided into a few small pours.
I also have noticed that I sip drinks much more slowly if I’m not holding them. So my perfect storm for mindless over drinking is standing and chatting at a party. I have a very loose rule that if I’m standing up I have a mocktail (at least for drink #2); if I’m seated I have whatever I want. If you can, rest your drink on a mantle or table between sips. Or better yet – sit down and enjoy it with a meal. Down a few glasses of water throughout the night too.
Add Extra Green Beans To The Green Bean Casserole
One of my all-time favorite tips for a potluck event is to bring a healthier dish to share. That doesn’t mean you show up with something blah that no one eats! There are so many delicious (and creative) takes on comfort food classics. Take something that people recognize, like green bean casserole, and make a slightly healthier version. No one will ever know the difference. (Here is a good recipe to try!) Whatever you bring to the potluck, make it something you will love and enjoy too.
Drink more tea!
Not only does a steamy mug of tea warm you up on cold afternoons, but tea counts toward your daily hydration needs and can help you stay hydrated when ice water sounds chilling. There are so many amazing holiday flavors of tea – like Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride or Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland – and they have aromas that will satisfy your sweet tooth after lunch instead of reaching for the cookie tin. Add a teaspoon of honey for a little natural sweetener if you need a little bit more. And if you have overindulged, peppermint tea can help with digestion. These minty tea drops are my favorite for after dinner because they have a little cane sugar involved and are simple to pop into hot water. No caffeine either.
Think Ahead & Make A Plan
Make a mental plan for the night (or season!) Whether you balance your nights out with home cooked meals the next day or you simply map out a party plan in your head before you go, the more mindfulness you can practice the better. Think about the events ahead: you’ll have your mom’s famous pie on Christmas and will enjoy the eggnog with bourbon for New Year’s Eve. I love the phrase “You can have it all; just not all at once.”
“Taste everything, eat nothing”
This is one of my favorite party mantras. Of course you want to experience all that the dessert buffet has to offer, but you don’t need to eat a huge slice of every cake there to taste them. Tiny portions of rich foods allow you to enjoy them without leaving you full and lethargic. Focus on how you want to feel at the end of the night.
Fresh air is good for EVERYTHING. And physical activity goes a long way to boost your mood. Bundle up and remember why winter walks are the best. Whether you’re into cross country skiing or just want to take a power walk with family and friends, get outside! I love walking in the late afternoon when I tend to get sleepy. It’s as energizing as a power nap!
You know what is an amazing workout? SLEDDING! And snowball fights. And snowman building. Also pulling kids in a sled.
Now if we would just get some snow around here….!