The holidays are busy. Sometimes, our health an take a back seat. I wanted to throw together a post on some of my current strategies on how to keep my health a priority this holiday season while still enjoying myself! With Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow, I figured now was as good a time as any to share this with you guys:
Here they are- my top 6 tips for a healthy holiday!
Be Picky-Full disclosure- I am not a picky eater. I never have been. Even when I was a baby, any food that was put in front of me would be consumed easily. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered that there are some advantages to being a somewhat picky eater. Now, of course this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat your peas. (Although depending on what was used to make it, you might want to steer clear of the green bean casserole…) What it does mean, is that there are some holiday foods that are worth indulging in a little, and some that aren’t.
My rule of thumb- if I can have it any other day of the year, then I probably won’t reach for it as a holiday “treat”.
I never get to have a slow roasted turkey, and I don’t really ever have dark meat. I also never get real, homemade cranberry sauce. And while I do splurge from time to time with the sweet potato fries I love so much….I never, ever get to have them whipped up with butter and cinnamon and sugar and covered with caramelized pecans. I’ll pass on the bread, the green bean casserole and likely the stuffing and the cheese and cracker appetizers because to me, the other stuff is way more exciting.
You might be a stuffing and mashed taters kind- then that’s where you should indulge a little! Just be picky everywhere else.
Guzzle Water- This is really very simple- drink water. Lots of it.
I try and drink at least 60oz a day, but sometimes I’ll drink as much as a gallon. Yes, extra trips to the bathroom are a no brainer- but it’s worth it.
You’ve probably heard that you should drink 1 glass of water for every cup of coffee and every alcoholic beverage- that’s definitely a great starting point!
Stay Active- This also might seem self explanatory, but hold on one sec. When I say “stay active” during the holidays, I don’t just mean “make sure you still fit your workouts in”.
I know people get busy, myself included, and sometimes an hour long workout or even a 30 minute workout can feel like too much.
Staying active isn’t just about going to the gym- it’s as simple as pacing when you’re on the phone, playing tag with your nieces and nephews, playing football in the backyard, cleaning the house for holiday guests, walking the dog- heck, even Christmas shopping is staying active with all that running around from store to store!
If you’re really feeling ambitious, try doing a single circuit move for every commercial break during a TV show. Every time the commercial changes, switch moves. It gets tough! It can also get embarrassing, so warning your TV buddy might be essential.
Plan to Indulge- This particular tip is one of my favorites, because it can mean a number of different things. Planning to indulge can be anything from planning meals ahead of time, to making sure you get in some exercise, to eating a light but filling meal (like eggs and avocado, oats with a little protein powder or greek yogurt with fruit) the morning before a big meal is going to be served, or even as a snack an hour or so before attending a Christmas party. By filling up early, you’ll fend off hunger longer and prevent sweets laden or carb heavy binges.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving: for example, you might want to get up a smidge early and get a quick workout in- as little as 20 minutes of activity first thing in the morning is enough to boost your metabolism AND help you make healthier choices later on. After that, have some yogurt and fresh fruit or a banana with some PB. When the big meal is served, you won’t be ravenous, and you’ll have already done something active!
Lighten Up- Don’t blow all your hard work off because you overindulge once. Okay, so you had 2 (err 2 ½) helpings of your Aunt’s amazing sweet potato casserole (I’m lookin’ at you, Aunt Pam) and now your sweet tooth is on the loose. You figure “Oh well, I’ve already eaten more than I should have…why not go all out and eat that entire pie?”
*Insert Buzzer Sound Here*
Believe you me, I am the queen of this type of go big or go home thinking when it comes to blowing a healthy eating streak, especially on holidays. One thing I have found after years and years of yo-yoing between strict as you can get, I’ll-just-have-a-carrot-thanks dieting, and binging on pizza rolls and cookie dough- it is never, ever worth the “food hangover” later. What’s worse? I never fail to feel miserable, let down and just all together BLEH afterwards. Don’t let one minor indulgence turn into an all day/all night feeding frenzy- lighten up, and realize that an “all or nothing” attitude is just not going to cut it all the time.
Enjoy the Moment – The holidays are about food, yes, but they are also about family.
I’d say they are mostly about family.
I know in the past, I’ve viewed big family get-togethers as an excuse to stand by the snacks and just pick and pick until I’m full- and then the big holiday meal is served. With so much great food, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and just want to try everything asap. (My cousin has an amazing palette for wine and cheese, and she always has the best pairings…it’s dangerous.)
But we can’t forget to enjoy all of the great company as well. I know we’ve heard it all- make a plate and leave the kitchen, don’t stand by the buffet, refuse all food offered (a little extreme if you ask me), ect. For some reason, those haven’t seemed to work real well for me.
This year, my game plan is to have a couple nibbles of whatever looks best (top 2 things on the table, most likely) then make myself a cup seasonal tea (hellooo, sugar cookie sleigh ride!) and sit down.
Sipping on hot liquids always distracts me from false hunger, and will allow me instead to focus on the people around instead of the food- all while getting in some much needed H2O.