3 Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

‘Tis the season to overeat fa la la la la la. I love food, I got a degree in it. I think one reason why we overeat during the holidays is because some of what we eat is seasonal, only for these holidays. It’s the goods. We feel the need to stuff our faces because it will be an entire year before peppermint bark is back on store shelves. We shouldn’t have to deprive ourselves of all our favorite holiday foods. However, we can’t let the holidays be the reason we forget about our health. Can there be a happy middle?

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1. Drinks

If you want to avoid extra calories being aware of what you’re drinking is a great way to start. Alcohol and soda are empty calories. I feel soda is a no-brainer and a lot of people don’t drink it anyway, but alcohol can be the tricky one. If you want to drink, try moderation. Keep in mind that binge drinking for women is consuming 4 drinks within 2 hours.I would recommend 2 drinks that you drink leisurely through the holiday festivities.  If you want to skip alcohol, then water or unsweetened ice tea is a great healthy alternative. You can’t forget the hot cocoa! There are light hot cocoa options available. If you want to eat all your favorite foods, then make these drink changes. If you are cautious of what you’re drinking, this will help with excessive calorie intake.

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There are light hot cocoa options available. Photo:Drew Coffman

2. Sharing is Caring

The holidays are about giving and coming together, especially around the dinner table. One recommendation I have for staying healthy during the holidays is share or split your meal with someone. I mostly do this with deserts. I have a sweet tooth and don’t want to miss out on any Italian pastry my father makes. So, I always cut it in half and give it to another family member or simply save it for another time. This helps with portion control and can help you feel like you’re not depriving yourself of the foods you love.

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Moderation and balance are key during the holidays. Photo:Brooke Lark

3. Walk It Off

How many of us, after we a big holiday meal go and sit on the couch? It’s almost like we have to recover and relax after eating during the holidays. Instead, we can stay healthy by going for a brisk walk after dinner. This not only helps us digest our meals, and can help bring family and friends together. Walking is a low-intensity so everyone can join in. 30 minutes is recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. I do this with my parents all the time and I set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes and every time my parents say we can walk more. I would tell your loved ones we are going on a little walk and once they get going they will want to keep walking. Fresh air and physical activity can help give you more energy to help clean the dishes. You can walk off some calories and help promote a healthy lifestyle with your loved ones.

Fresh air and physical activity can help give you more energy to help clean the dishes.

The holidays are EXTRA, but that doesn’t mean we have to gain extra weight. I think my tips are practical and can help you survive the holidays. The holidays should not be filled with shame and guilt, well for some of us, our family does that already. We shouldn’t let the holidays make us feel bad for eating traditional foods we love. Moderation and balance are key during the holidays. I would also recommend maybe have one big meal and eat light the rest of the day. Do not make the excuse it’s the holidays, your health doesn’t have a pause button. Go into the new year with healthy habits

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