Do you struggle to stay healthy during the holidays? Weight gain, getting sick, lack of sleep, travel, parties, stress, and tempting desserts are all challenges this time of year. The good news is…
You can enjoy the holidays without feeling deprived, gaining weight or wreaking havoc on your health.
Follow the tips below to conquer common party pitfalls, strengthen your immune system and indulge without packing on the pounds. These seasonal secrets are focused on minimizing holiday damage while maximizing protective nutrients to prevent you from getting sick, fat and inflamed. Incorporate one tip daily, and you’ll notice a huge difference in how you look and feel when the new year begins!
10 Healthy Holiday Tips
These are the ten easiest and most effective tips for having a healthy holiday season.
With a busy schedule most of the year now is a great, “no excuses” time to slow down and savor your food. Start by taking a few deep breaths and giving thanks for what’s on your plate. Slow down and chew more to improve digestion, increase nutrient absorption and feel full faster.
Start each morning with a large glass of water and pack a bottle to refill throughout the day. Fresh cranberries with orange slices are a delicious way to infuse your water with flavor. You can also add lemon to water (and even food) for flavor and health benefits. For a sweet and soothing source of hydration, try peppermint tea with stevia for a “candy cane in a cup.”
3. Enjoy Whole Foods
Choose natural, whole foods (veggies and fruits) over man-made, processed products (baked goods). Whole foods, a.k.a. one ingredient foods, naturally contain more nutrients including fiber that support blood sugar levels and digestion. In general, the less refined a food is, the more nutrients it contains.
Enjoy plenty of quality protein at the beginning of each meal, especially breakfast to set the tone for healthy choices the rest of the day. Protein promotes fat burning, reduces cravings, and provides high satiation. Good sources of protein-rich, fat-burning foods include eggs, leftover “roast beast” or wild salmon.
5. Plan Balanced Meals
Skipping meals or restricting calories can result in overeating and poor food choices. Instead, eat 3 balanced meals and 1-2 snacks that focus on quality protein, natural fats, and non-starchy veggies. Plan your eating ahead of time, so you don’t end up “starving” with unhealthy temptations.
6. Strategize Your Splurges
Savor this season without feeling guilty or deprived by planning two “cheat” meals per week to indulge. If planning is a challenge, then try a 3 bite rule in which you take 3 bites and back off. Lastly, don’t set yourself up for failure by keeping junk food in the house. Keep temptations out of sight, out of mind.
7. Snack on Nuts
Natural fats, such as nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.), are your best friend for thriving this festive season. Fats aid fat loss, stabilize blood sugar levels, add flavor, decrease sugar cravings, promote satiation and increase nutrient absorption.
8. Select Smarter Sweets
Enjoy healthier treats this season by sweetening with success, favoring fruit for dessert and indulging in dark chocolate. Whether you’re adding them to beverages or baked goods, strive for healthier sweeteners, such as cinnamon, stevia, dates, maple syrup or honey.
9. Grab More Greens
Most people eat twice as many grains (especially refined grains) as they do greens, which should be the other way around. Veggies are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Include more veggies by juicing, adding to salads/snacks, and using for pasta, wraps, and rolls. If you can’t resist bread, select sourdough or “sprouted” varieties and make it a half sandwich.
10. Choose Better Booze
Nix most mixed drinks and beware specialty cocktails that sound like desserts in a glass. Opt for healthier libations made from simple ingredients such as wine, lite beer or a spirit straight-up. Choose natural sweeteners like stevia, fresh fruit or 100 percent fruit juice. Pinot Noir is top shelf as it contains decent amounts of the anti-aging antioxidant resveratrol. Try these 10 Smart Sip Swaps and Egg Nog.
- Before indulging in holiday dishes, festive beverages, and seasonal sweets, drink green tea. The high antioxidant content increases fat burning, reduces inflammation, and helps prevent a hangover.
- Include daily movement with high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga or any exercise you enjoy.
- Get more sleep by getting 8 hours a night or taking short naps daily.
- Reduce stress levels by spending time in nature, walking, practicing gratitude or meditating.
- How to Eat Healthy Traveling or Dining Out
5 Immune Boosters
- Cultured vegetables, such as kraut, kimchi or kvass
- Kombucha (with less than 5 grams of sugar per serving)
- Fresh organic cranberries
- Grass-fed collagen, gelatin or homemade bone broth
- Urban Moonshine ImmuneZoom
- Artisana nut squeeze packs or nuts with fresh fruit or Alter Eco dark chocolate
- SeaSnax — seaweed chips
- Wild Planet wild sardines or salmon
- Tanka Bar — wild bison jerky
- Tera’s Whey — grass-fed whey protein powder
Naughty or Nice Gift Ideas
- Shopping Made Easy: Thrive Market, Pact Organic Apparel, Viva Terra, Dry Farm Wine
- Stocking Stuffers, Gifts for the Home Chef & Gifts for a Healthy Home
- Edible Gift Ideas & Recipes
All things Apple, Pumpkin, Fall, Winter Squash
Seasonal Sweets: Shortbread Cookies, Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Maple Almond Butter, Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds, Maple Popcorn, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Chocolate Cookies, Seven Layer Bars, Peppermint Chocolate Macaroons, Peppermint Marshmallow Cookies, Coconut Macadamia Bark, Fudge, Edible Gifts and More!
Thanksgiving Tips & Holiday Recipes: Danielle Walker — Against All Grain