Now that the holidays are here, a flurry of festivities has arrived as well — holiday parties, big family gatherings, and fancy dinners.
The list is endless.
Making healthy choices among all the temptations can be tricky. Don’t let the holidays derail your normally good choices and healthy habits. It’s hard to enjoy the holidays if you’re fighting off a cold or carrying around extra weight that’s slowing you down.
Staying healthy during the holidays doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to have a plan in place to make smart decisions for when that dessert plate does arrive.
To help keep you on track, we’ve compiled 15 healthy holiday tips below:
1. Stick to Your Workout Routine
It’s easy to use the holidays as an excuse to skip working out. Come January 1, though, your waistline will not hide behind the excuses. With all the sweet treats and holiday parties, it’s easy to overindulge. To feel and look your best, try to stick with your normal workout patterns.
Ask a friend to be your workout accountability partner through the holidays and beyond. You’ll be less likely to ditch the gym (and your buddy) if they’re counting on you.
You read that right. It’s okay to indulge in your grandmother’s double-chocolate fudge cake. Just don’t do it every day from now until the new year. If you have multiple holiday parties in a row, eat a small meal ahead of the party so you’re not tempted to overindulge.
3. Slow Down
You can essentially use the two words “slow down” for anything pertaining to the holiday season. Mentally, physically, and emotionally, it’s time to slow down. Pause between taking bites of food. Stop and look around at all your family gathered. Reflect on the past year and consider all that you’ve accomplished. Consider those two words your personal mantra for the rest of December.
4. Drink More H2O
While everyone is clinking glasses of champagne, consider a bubbly seltzer water with fruit instead. Not only will you skip the nasty hangover the next day, but your body will be grateful for the extra hydration. Plus, water has zero calories.
5. Spend Time With Loved Ones
Instead of dashing out to every holiday sale or event, take time with your loved ones — especially ones who traveled from afar. The holidays are a precious time to savor quality visits with family and friends. Schedule time ahead for visits if your planner tends to fill up fast. It does your spirit good to reconnect with loved ones.
6. Stick to Your Bedtime Routine
The holidays often throw regular routines out of whack. One routine that is important to keep is getting to bed on time. Sleep is a key part of good health, and most healthy adults need between 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep. If you repeatedly hit snooze on your sleep, you run the risk of lowering your immune system and overall health.
7. Eat the Rainbow
If you can’t avoid going to holiday parties, do your best to eat healthy when you go. If it’s a potluck-style party, bring a healthy dish like a fruit tray or quinoa salad. When possible, fill half your plate with veggies to get your fiber fix which will help you stay full longer. Plus, it leaves less room for decadent desserts or fried foods.
8. Keep Germs Away
As you attend gatherings, there’s likely to be lots of hugs, handshaking, and even kisses. Keep germs (and colds) away by washing your hands regularly with warm soapy water for at least 30 seconds. Carry hand sanitizer for when you can’t sneak away to the sink right away. Eating and drinking foods full of vitamin C and D will also keep you healthy. Orange juice packs a punch of vitamin C, and salmon offers plenty of vitamin D.
9. Be Realistic
You may have wanted the perfect dinner like the spread from Better Homes and Gardens, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. If you’re hosting a holiday dinner or party, don’t put too much pressure on yourself for crafting a magazine-worthy spread. It’s okay to ask for help or even buy pre-packaged dessert. Don’t beat yourself up over a once-a-year-event that’s supposed to be fun.
10. Stick to Your Budget
Americans are expected to spend up to$720 billion on holiday retail items this year. With the commercials, begging children, and perky salespeople, it can be hard to say no. Set a budget prior to heading out for your holiday shopping. Use cash only to make it easier to stay within your gift budget. If you can’t afford to give gifts, tell your family in advance if you won’t be participating. It’ll take the pressure off and you won’t have to go into debt for another holiday season.
11. Make Healthy Swaps
There’s nothing wrong with a traditional Christmas meal, but the calories can add up if you’re not careful. Consider simple food swaps to make your meals healthier. Mash sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, and skip the gravy boat. When baking, use applesauce and bananas instead of heaps of butter or oil. For any ingredient you want to replace, there’s usually an alternative that’s just as tasty and healthier.
Time off of work is precious. Enjoy those work-free moments by visiting with family and friends. Play board games. Catch snowflakes on your tongue. Get on the floor with your grandkids. Make snow angels outside. Let your inner kid come out without worrying about how silly you look.
13. Set Resolutions
As an individual and a family, sit down and write out what you want to achieve in 2019. Creating a self-improvement list doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Think of what matters to you. Whether it’s reading one self-help book a month or hitting the gym three times a week, make your goals personal yet achievable.
14. Say No
If you really don’t want to fill your calendar with obligations, say no. You don’t have to explain yourself, either. Decline politely the projects or events you don’t want to put energy toward. It gets easier the more you say it.
15. Enjoy Some Alone Time
With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can feel like you’re never alone. Schedule in some alone time to refresh and renew your soul. It can be as elaborate as a spa day or as low-key as escaping to a quiet space in your house to read. Enjoy your own company and you’ll better enjoy any visiting company this holiday season.
Create Your Plan for a Healthy Holiday Season
Apply any of these tips to your life this month for a merrier and healthier holiday season. With some willpower and a plan, you can avoid the undesirable effects of too much holiday indulgence this year.
Get ready to greet 2019 lighter, happier, and healthier!
What are your best tips for staying healthy during the holidays? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!