Three Tips for a Healthy Holiday

The holiday season is a time of sheer joy, but it's also a time of stress, indulgences and maybe a bit too much fun. It can be easy to succumb to holiday stress, eat a few too many desserts, and completely let healthy routines fall by the wayside.

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But, with a few smart strategies, you can navigate everything from extra stress to extra desserts. 

  1. Bring a dish to share. Most holiday parties are potluck-style get-togethers, so bring a dish to share with guests. Brainstorm a savory main course option that you’d feel both comfortable eating and sharing with others. This ensures you’ll have something hearty to enjoy and help you stay away from mindless snacking later. Load up your dish with vegetables and protein like chicken, beans, quinoa, pork or beef.

    Do taste the other dishes that are available, but tread lightly around store-bought foods. Sample the foods that are homemade and made with an extra ingredient: love. As you make your way around the communal table, load up your plate with vegetables and fruits first, then add a helping of your dish, and try a small taste of one dessert.

  2. Stay active. Throughout the season, it’s important to stay active. Not only will physical activity help burn calories and rev your metabolism, but it’s also a great mood booster.

    If you’re new to exercise, start with 20 minutes of low- to moderate-intensity exercise like going for a walk or jog. Slowly start increasing the duration, as you feel comfortable. If you’re an avid exerciser, try not to stray away from your typical routine.

    Before a holiday party, assemble your family together and go for a nice jaunt outside. Or if the weather is particularly good, start up a game of touch football, tag or Frisbee. As the sun sets, explore the neighborhood and see the beautiful holiday light displays. Exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym or on a treadmill. 

  3. Practice gratitude. Although it can be a season of joy, the holidays can bring about stress. Before you shut off the lamp before bed, or just as you rise in the morning, take a moment to envision all that you’re thankful for. Whether it be your family, your career, your body or your furry friend, this sets a positive intention. Keep this growing list in the back of your mind, or write it down.

    Allow other forms of mindfulness into your day. If there is a particularly stressful moment at work, take a moment to walk away from your desk and center yourself. Shut your eyes and envision your gratitude list.

    Intentional breathing is also a great tool to create a more peace within the body. Shut your eyes and take slow and deep inhales through the nose, and exhale slowly through your mouth.

    Repeat this about five times. 
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