Are you wondering “How can I have healthy holidays?” It’s totally possible!
I know the holidays are usually filled with all kinds of unhealthy things like drinks, sweets, and lots of fatty foods. We get less sleep, stress more about things like money and family gatherings, and get out of our healthy routines.
Tips to Eat Healthy During the Holidays
1. Fill your plate with half vegetables
One way to watch your calorie intake and make sure you’re getting good nutrition for holiday parties is by focusing on vegetables. Fill your plate with half veggies, then 1/4 meat, and 1/4 starch. (Potatoes are a starch, not a veggie.)
For example, have a serving of carrots, a serving of green beans, some turkey with a small amount of gravy, and some sweet potatoes. It’s a great way to keep your calories low! But watch that you don’t overload on appetizers, bread, or desserts too!
2. Know what food to eat
Eating over the holidays can be stressful. But you can stay on track by knowing the nutritional profile of different foods. Personally, I do best with a lower carbohydrate diet, so I know if I eat a meal with bread, potatoes, and stuffing I’m going to be regretting it later.
When you’re the one hosting or planning the party, you can put choose the foods that go on the table. This will not only benefit you and your weight, but also your friends and family that eat the meal you prepared.
Check out these healthy Thanksgiving and holiday recipes for when you’re planning a menu!
3. Eat desserts in moderation
It’s that time of year, and high calorie desserts are everywhere! Sugar is one of the culprits of an unhealthy holiday season. The easiest trick is to eat very small portions of desserts very slowly! This will help you savor the flavor of them while watching how much you eat.
A few more tricks, if you’re bringing desserts to someone else’s house, are 1) to bring a fruit-based dessert, 2) use a natural sweetener, 3) try paleo or low-carb desserts.
When your winter wellness is at stake, definitely watch those desserts.
4. Balance your meals
Finding balance between your meals is easier said than done. If you know you’re going to eat a lot at a holiday event, you might plan ahead and eat a lighter lunch. Eat healthier snacks as well. Focus on food like fresh vegetables with some hummus, or a piece of fruit.
5. Drink in moderation
Holidays are also full of alcoholic drinks. If you’re already sober, do what you need to keep it that way. But if you like to drink, this is something to watch out for.
Alcohol is chock full of empty calories, so plan ahead and be mindful about what you’re drinking. For example, Everyday Health says that red wine or whiskey neat or on the rocks are great choices. Light beer is also good if that’s your thing. But sugary cocktail drinks or craft beers (sorry, IPA lovers) are the worst for your waistline.
6. Have low-calorie snacks
As mentioned above, snacks are an important part of staying healthy during the holiday season that can potentially make or break how you feel after the holidays are over. Avoid snacks like basically any kind of chips, Little Debbie cakes, even granola bars.
Some healthier snack foods might include carrot and hummus, an apple and almond butter, a handful of nuts, or a side salad.
Take a healthy snack with you so you’re prepared! This will help you get adequate nutrition for any holiday event.
Tips to Move Your Body During the Holiday Season
7. Exercise throughout your holiday break
If you want to keep the scale from going up in December, make sure you have a healthy exercise routine. Exercise may not be enough to help us lose weight, but it has so many benefits to our overall wellness, from helping us be stronger, giving us more energy, and helping us sleep better!
Do a little bit every day to keep your weight where you want it.
8. Do light movement like walking
One easy way to get some exercise is by making an effort to walk every day. If you live in a city, that’s the perfect opportunity to go outside and enjoy a brisk walk after dinner. You can also plan your errands so if they’re near your house or work, you can walk there as well.
You could even try parking further away from where you’re going when doing errands. Walking just a little further each day can help keep you on track.
9. Find festive activities you enjoy
The holiday season is full of all kinds of fun things to do! Search for events that might be healthy or active, like walking around the neighborhood looking at lights. Take another extra couple laps around the mall while you’re shopping with friends.
Avoid activities that require sitting or will have lots of extra food. When you remove the temptation, you’ll be healthier!
10. Plan active, fun workouts with friends
Grab a buddy and try to make healthy activity fun! Yoga, pilates, or hitting the gym are all great ideas. Finding a healthy activity with friends has all kinds of benefits from helping you stay accountable to having healthy conversations that could inspire healthy habits in the new year.
Practice Self-Care to Have Healthy Holidays
11. Rest Up
Sleep is essential to our health. To get our body healthy, we need healthy sleep. This can be hard during the holiday season because everywhere you go there are lots of activities to do and people to see.
Plan sleeping in on mornings that you know you’ll be staying up late (like New Year’s Eve) and even plan naps if you need to. Rest helps us truly nourish our bodies.
12. Have a solid morning routine
Just because it’s the holidays, don’t give up on the things that make you feel good the rest of the year. It may be tempting the morning after a party to grab a leftover croissant and chill in your bathrobe in front of the TV.
But if you can eat healthy food for breakfast, get plenty of water to rehydrate from the night before, and exercise a little, you’ll be in much better shape for the coming weeks.
13. Balance your social activities
Some of us are extroverted and love to interact with others. But some of us are introverted and get easily overwhelmed by being around others too much.
It’s important to know which one you are. If you’re introverted (like me), it’s important to know how much is too much. You may feel very drained and low energy, which can impact your overall health and wellness. Make sure you’re saving some energy for your best parties and for your favorite people to be able to enjoy the simple moments with them!
14. Stay organized
Organization is crucial during the holiday season and through New Year’s. This can help you maintain lower stress levels and feel better about yourself to continue on through this busy season.
If you’re a mom, you may want to plan all your non-party meals. You may want to put all your events into a calendar or planner as soon as you know about it! Don’t wait until the day of and suddenly stress out because you forgot!
RELATED CONTENT: New Year’s Resolution: Improve Your Health in 2022
15. Spend time on yourself
We’re so caught up in giving to other people during the holidays that sometimes we forget to give to ourselves. This means investing time on yourself and your health.
This can be going to the spa, signing up for a healthy cooking class, or writing in your gratitude journal. It could also mean taking some time to do yoga, go for a walk, or read a book. It’s okay to take some time and money for yourself too.
16. Wear what makes you feel best
Our clothing is incredibly impactful to our self-worth and confidence. But here’s another area that we get caught up in impressing others that we wear something that’s not our style, that makes us feel uncomfortable, or worse, is too tight and is painful when we eat a little too much.
It’s always nice to get dressed up, but make sure you’re wearing your clothes for you and not someone else.
17. Drink plenty of water
There is no element or substance more integral to our health than water. But so many of us forget about it. This means drinking plain water – not juices, sugary drinks, or sodas.
Aim for 2/3rds of your body weight in ounces. For example, I’m 130 pounds, so I need at least 86 ounces. I also know that I live in the desert (where it’s dry), so I try to have an additional 20 ounces. It’s even more important to have your daily water if you’re going to be imbibing later in the day!
18. Connect with your favorite people
Sometimes we get so caught up with the people we have to see that we forget to schedule time for the people we want to see. We take so long meticulously planning things that we forget to live in the moment and actually be with the people we’re hoping to impress, or give gifts to, or inspire.
I know this time of year can be tough on your health, but you don’t have to let it get the best of you. Making a few small changes in the way that we eat and exercise can help us stay healthy during these stressful holidays.
What are some ways that you like to maintain your level of health or feel better over the holiday season?
Drop a comment below!