Christmas and New Year are almost here and many people are wondering how to stay healthy during the holidays. Some people don’t even think this is possible and just surrender to gluttony.
Tips for staying healthy
Below are some ideas that hopefully will help you mitigate the damage during the holidays.
- Be consistent most of the time. The holidays and a few other occasions (e.g. your wedding) are not times to stress about “clean eating” if you eat well the majority of the time.
- Move often. Exercising can be a challenge during the holidays because of social commitments and the fact that most gyms are closed. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t move. Walk as much as you can, stretch, take the stairs, do yoga, do burpees, jump rope, go for a run, use park exercise equipment if available nearby, etc.
- Drink wisely. See this article for recommendations about alcoholic beverages.
- Don’t stress, stay hydrated and sleep well. Take care of your body, especially during this busy time of the year.
- Bring something healthy. If you’re attending social gatherings at work or with friends/family, chances are you’re encouraged to bring something to share. Even if you’re not, it never hurts to show up with something healthy and tasty everyone can enjoy. Some examples include hummus, guacamole or other dip and veggie sticks, a gorgeous salad, cheese and olives, spiced nuts, a fruit platter, and bliss balls.
- Fill up your plate with vegetables first, protein second. Vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and fibre with few calories. Protein keeps you fuller for longer.
- Don’t feel compelled to eat all the things. This is easier said than done, but it might help to remind yourself that you don’t need to be the one who empties the platters. If you feel bad about wasting food, offer it to someone who might want/need it.
- Don’t binge at every meal on consecutive days. Try to space out your holiday celebrations (which usually involve copious amounts of energy-dense food and drinks).
- Gatherings don’t need to be centred around food. The holidays are about enjoying being with your loved ones. Celebrating with food is important for most people, but you can also celebrate doing something non-food related. Go to the beach, do a hike, go camping, play board games, sing karaoke. Whatever floats your boat.
- Remember you’re an adult. You make your own choices. Deal with the consequences
Beyond the holidays
Of course, these guidelines apply to life in general. Paraphrasing a brilliant quote I read a while ago: “it’s not what you eat between Christmas and New Year, it’s what you eat between New Year and Christmas”.