“It’s beginning to look (and taste, and smell, and feel) a lot like Christmas!” It’s that time of year when we tend to eat too much, drink too much, sit too much and stress too much. But, if we plan ahead and stay conscious of our actions, we can be healthy throughout the holidays. Below are eight tips to help you stay healthy over the holidays.
- Small, healthy snack before the party. Before heading out to your party, eat a small, healthy snack such as non-fat plain greek yogurt mixed with fruit, or a whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter. The protein and complex carbs will keep you full longer and make you less likely to overindulge at the party.
- Make a healthy appetizer or dish to share. Whether you’re hosting the party, or have agreed to bring something to share, make a healthy one. There will likely be plenty of high-fat and sugary foods at the party, so be in charge of bringing something healthy to be sure there are good options to choose from. Good choices include: Veggies and hummus, Fresh fruit tray and greek yogurt, Nuts – full of heart healthy unsaturated fat, vitamins and minerals
- Don’t drink all your calories. Eggnog, hot chocolate, martinis and peppermint mochas may be tasty, but are loaded with extra calories. Enjoy these drinks on occasion,but be sure to limit them. Instead, drink water, sparkling water, unsweetened tea, black coffee, or a glass of wine. A cup of eggnog with alcohol contains 360 calories, while a 4-ounce glass of wine contains 98 calories. A wine spritzer (made with 2 oz. wine and 2 oz. ginger ale) has only 49 calories.
- Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated, especially during the winter months. Drink an 8-ounce glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning, and drink an 8-ounce glass of water before every meal. This will help keep you hydrated as well as help to fill you up before you eat. Always drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
- Use a small plate. Always use a small plate for eating. This will help with portion control without you even realizing it.
- Stay active! Go for a walk after dinner with friends or family members. Turn on some music and encourage dancing. Grab your family members and go caroling around the neighborhood to spread some Christmas cheer and to fit in some walking. Fit in a great sweat session the day after your party.
- Avoid stressful conversations. In order to stay healthy over the holidays, we need to keep our stress levels to a minimum. One way to do that is to avoid any stressful conversations.
- Rest and recharge. Schedule time alone over the holidays to rest and recharge. Make sure to get enough sleep. Most adults need 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night to keep their minds and bodies healthy.
The holidays are about enjoying family, friends and food, and it’s ok to treat yourself and enjoy the occasion. Just be conscious of your actions and get back to a healthy routine as quickly as possible. Get back to eating plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats; get back to drinking lots of water; and get back to exercising almost every day. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy, Healthy New Year!
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