We all want to enjoy the holidays, while also avoiding the dreaded muffin-top and second-day bloat that goes along with the holiday cheer. Here are 10 tips to enjoy a healthy holiday!
Healthy Holiday Eating Tips:
Start at the veggie tray
Whenever you head to the kitchen for a snack, always start with a handful of vegetables. Once you have finished those, you can grab yourself a small portion of whatever treat you were originally going for. And the same goes for meals; serve yourself up a plate of veggies or salad first, or at least try to fill 1/4 – 1/2 of your plate with healthy veggies when you eat. Healthy Holidays start with healthy food!
Volunteer to bring the produce
If your family doesn’t normally serve a veggie tray or fresh vegetables, make that your contribution this year! Once your family/guests see you eating healthy snacks, it may motivate them to get the good stuff before they load up on a traditional, Carb-heavy meal. (You don’t have to break the budget with this one – grab a bag of carrots, a bag of celery, and a head of broccoli, and slice them yourself to save a LOT of money compared to the pre-cut veggie trays).
When putting food on your plate for a meal (after starting with your veggies), serve yourself about half of what you would like to eat. Chances are, you’ll still be full by the time your plate is empty, and you’ll still get the satisfaction of eating all of your favorite holiday treats.
Make your beverages “skinny”
High-calorie beverages abound during the holiday season; cider, punch, cocktails, you name it. Unfortunately, they are oftentimes high in both calories and sugar. Cut back on some of the excess with a healthy holiday beverage by diluting your drink with soda water or diet soda. If you’d rather enjoy the full version of your beverage, have a glass of water first to sate your thirst, and then serve yourself a slightly smaller drink.
Holiday Exercise Tips:
It seems as though at least one guest will always bring their dog. Volunteer to be the one to take it on regular “potty breaks”. Take it for a walk around the block (or around the neighborhood) to burn some calories and make a new friend.
Get to know your guests/relatives better
Once the meal is all cleaned up, grab one of your guests and go for a walk outside. You can catch up on everything that has happened throughout the year, brainstorm your new year’s resolutions, and burn some calories, too!
Do some chores
If you live in the Midwest, there is a good chance that it will snow during the winter holidays. Volunteer to help shovel, salt walkways, or brush snow off guests’ vehicles. If you are in a warmer climate, you can still help wash dishes, sweep, rake leaves, or participate in other helpful activities. (Note: some hosts may feel offended if you offer to help with chores; around here it’s considered to be a kind gesture. Don’t risk offending your host if it’s not appropriate!)
Play some games that get you on your feet and off the couch (or away from the snack bar): bean bag toss or other yard games, charades, or this novelty Reindeer Ring Toss.
Explore the local sights
If you are celebrating in an area with lots of hiking trails, go for a hike. If you’re visiting a new town, take a walk through the neighborhood or to a local park. Because healthy holidays include some physical activity!
These are just a few suggestions to help you stay on-track during the holidays. However, I should add that:
- You don’t need to use all of these suggestions – try one or two and see how you do.
- If it is too difficult or stressful to try and follow these tips, just take it easy. It’s not worth it to stress out yourself or your family just to save yourself some calories.
- And finally… One holiday season doesn’t have to completely derail your healthy lifestyle – you can always pick it up again in the new year.