7 Ways To Stay Healthy Over The Holidays
7 strategies for maintaining good-for-you habits between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
There are plenty of obstacles to maintaining healthy habits throughout the year, but with endless parties and food-related traditions, the holiday season tends to take the cake. The good news: With a little planning and the right frame of mind, your good groove doesn’t have to get derailed.
Try these strategies:
1. Focus on maintenance
The holiday season is not the time to start a juice cleanse or go from zero to sixty with your workouts. Instead, work on sticking with the healthy practices you already have in place. Whether you walk twice a week, pack lunch, or meet a buddy at the gym, keep doing the healthy habits that work for you. You’ll head into the new year that much stronger.
2. Mark your calendar
Once mid-November hits, it seems like there’s some celebration centering around food practically every day of the week. You might think, “Why should I even bother trying to stay healthy? Look what I’m up against.”
Try this: Take out your calendar and circle the dates of every upcoming holiday event you anticipate. Granted, there may be a lot. But, there’s likely to be at least a few days in between where you have nothing going on. On those “normal” days, eat healthfully and stick with your fitness plan. Just because you have a bunch of events doesn’t mean you have to landslide into destructive habits.
3. Make healthy substitutions
Worried there won’t be anything nutritious to eat at your mom’s holiday table? Offer to bring a dish – and make it healthy. Swapping out certain ingredients for healthier ones can help slash calories. Swap Greek yogurt in place for sour cream in a dip, use maple syrup or honey in place of sugar, or use apple sauce instead of oil in baked goods. Here are more healthy ideas.
4. Eat lunch before you go
If your usual approach to holiday meals is to starve yourself all day and then dig in, you might want to try something new this year. Not eating all day will cause you to be ravenous and you’ll be more likely to overdo it once you start eating. Here’s a new approach: Have a healthy, filling snack or small meal before the feast. Consider eating an apple with a spoonful of peanut butter, hummus and raw veggies, or a stick of string cheese.
5. Savor the season
Enjoy what you can only have this time of year. Skip the mashed potatoes (that you can likely get anywhere) and indulge in your aunt’s sweet potato pie that she only makes once a year. Not a fan of green bean casserole? Don’t eat it out of obligation. Pick and choose which foods to put on your plate, then savor your selections.
6. Stop when you’re satisfied
Once you start to feel full (cues include sighing while you eat or your waistband feeling more snug), put your fork down and take a break. Better yet, put your fork down between each bite of your meal to really focus on how your food tastes.
7. Forgive yourself
Did you overdo it? That’s OK. It’s one meal or one day. Tomorrow is a new opportunity to get back on track.
What other tips do you use to stay healthy over the holidays? Tell us in our discussion or on Facebook.
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