When the weather cools down and the holidays approach, many of us begin to feel like indulging — whether it’s food, shopping, or drinks. But holiday habits might not be the best for your healthy lifestyle. You want to eat, drink, and be merry, but you also want to stay in shape over the holidays. Let’s take a look at keeping up your healthy habits during the holidays.
When you feel like eating every delicious treat in sight, consider indulging in a different kind of self-care instead of baked goods and comfort foods. Instead, pamper yourself with an at-home spa treatment, like a DIY facial, a hair mask, or a mani/pedi. Engage in activities that help you feel beautiful from the inside out and eating and drinking those heavy holiday delights may not sound as appealing.
Here are some of our favorite tips.
Exercise Can Be Festive!
There’s so much to do over the holidays that spending time in the gym can fall to the bottom of your list. Consider interval training to maximize your gym time. Or, burn calories by participating in the fun activities of the season—remember that anything that gets your heart rate up helps burn calories. Sledding, ice skating, or snowball fights are all exercise! And so is the family flag football game, if you live somewhere that’s warm enough to exercise outdoors. You don’t necessarily have to go to a gym to log a workout!
Watch Your Portions
The easiest way to manage portions is to make sure most of your plate is loaded up with vegetables. Don’t deny yourself that roll, mac and cheese, or slice of pie—just make sure you don’t overdo it. By making sure veggies are the star of your meal, you’ll be filling up on the healthy and nutritious foods your body needs before you splurge.
It’s usually easy to find fruits and vegetables at any type of holiday event. Be sure to look at the spread and find the healthiest options to eat first. And at home, keep your fridge and freezer stocked with easy veggie options that are easy and quick to prepare.
Enlist a Buddy
During the holidays, we get to reunite with the family and friends we might not see during the rest of the year. A great way to catch up with the folks you haven’t spent time with for a while is to create an active get-together. Consider a walking coffee date or a hike. Or, go shopping together and walk a lap or two around the mall or parking lot. This way, you can be social and stay active at the same time.
Don’t Forget the Water
Of course, you know that drinking water is important, but with all the holiday hustle and bustle, it can be easy to forget.
Keep these things in mind:
- Thirst can disguise itself as hunger, and becoming even slightly dehydrated can affect your mood and emotional state in a negative way. If you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water and waiting a few minutes. You may find you weren’t hungry after all.
- Cocktails and sugary drinks like eggnog are often part of the holiday experience. Don’t feel like you have to skip out—instead, indulge in just one. Then, stick to low-cal options for the rest of the time. Remember that there are plenty of tasty beverages to be made with sparkling water, by doing nothing more than adding a squeeze of fruit.
- Keep your water bottle with you wherever you go. This will make it easier to reach for your water instead of a less healthful beverage.
Keep a Protein-rich Snack With You
Foods with protein have staying power to help maintain your energy levels and mood. It’s easy to get so busy during the holidays that you forget, or just don’t have time, to eat. But if you put off fueling your body until you get hangry, you might find yourself devouring the next thing you encounter. You can avoid all this by keeping a protein-rich snack with you. Whether it’s a handful of nuts or a protein bar, look for options with fiber to help fill you up as well.
All the holiday foods you love are fine to enjoy. Just be prepared — and be mindful. Remember to take care of yourself first — drink some water, take some deep breaths, get a little quiet, walk the dog twice. Be sure to get some relaxation in, and these tips will help you save your energy (and sanity!) this holiday season. Happy holidays!