As the holidays quickly approach, our calendars fill with cocktail parties, dinners and various celebrations. Although we truly believe in a balanced and fun approach to healthy living, that doesn’t mean you to have to throw in the towel when it comes to your health this festive season! The fine print? You can enjoy your eggnog and still feel good – whew.
We’ve rounded up some of our top tips to help you navigate holiday celebrations without losing all of your healthy efforts. The first step is coming up with a flexible game plan. We highlight ‘flexible’ because it’s important to remember this is a time of year to enjoy … enjoy your company, some well-deserved indulgences and relaxation. Don’t stress over diverting from your regular health routine, embrace the holidays and let go a little and celebrate! To help you navigate your celebrations with a balanced approach, we’ve gathered some helpful tips to keep you feeling great along the way.
HOLIDAY PARTY GAME PLAN
Load up on that H20 all season long. Not only will hydration keep us feeling energetic, but often when we think we’re hungry it’s simply thirst. The holiday season also often equates to cocktails, so go on and have a few and enjoy the party! Just be sure to have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. You will thank yourself for it the following day.
Do however try not to consume large amounts of liquids while you’re eating. This can be a digestion nightmare as it dilutes gastric juices and digestive enzymes your body requires to break down food and causes bloating. Eeek!
+ KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS AROUND
We often think it’s best to ‘save up’ for the big dinner or party. But then you arrive starved and diving for the nearest high sugar dish! Not a good plan. Instead, keep healthy snacks at the ready throughout your day – whether you’re at home relaxing, traveling or doing errands, be sure to have fresh veggies, raw unsalted nuts and fruit to keep you satiated. You can also make some healthy dips such as hummus and guacamole to have on hand so you end up frazzled and starving by the end of day – which simply wreaks havoc on your hormones and increases cortisol levels (stress = fat).
+ EAT BEFORE A PARTY
Similarly to our previous point to not starve yourself throughout the day, we also recommend that you have a healthy snack of protein and good fats an hour before going out to a party (some nuts, avocado, small piece of chicken, greek yogurt with berries …). This way you don’t arrive and rush to the nearest snacks table. You will feel more in control of your food choices over the night because you are not starving and can have a more enjoyable time!
+ VEGGIES ARE YOUR FRIENDS
Before you take a bite of that pumpkin pie, hit up the veggie platter. Raw veggies are chock full of enzyme-rich water and fiber, and will make you feel fuller for longer. The fiber in raw veg will also help you digest the other foods you consume after. Just be sure to watch out for the dips which are often sugar, dairy loaded high calorie minefields. Choose salsa if you’re unsure.
+ BRING YOUR OWN
If you’re heading to a party and are worried about what will be served, bring a dish or two of your own as a contribution! First off, people always love having more delicious food and will thank you for bringing something different, and secondly, if all else fails you have some healthy options you can enjoy.
+ LET GO
We can’t control everything. The holidays are not meant to be restricting or associated with any form of guilt. Letting go of the ‘all or nothing’ mentality is important for fully embracing this joyous time. Just because you couldn’t resist that piece of pie or extra glass of champagne, doesn’t mean everything is downhill from there. Remember, health is all about balance and also enjoyment. Keep an awareness of your portions and allow yourself to enjoy your food and your company.
The holidays may bring about a serious case of hibernation – whether it’s cold outside or not. Although we highly recommend relishing in some down time and restful slumber, be sure to get your body moving, especially outdoors if you can! It’s a perfect way to shed off any heaviness from the party the night before and feel refreshed for the day ahead. Grab your family and make an activity out of it – long walk in the neighbourhood, a nice easy bike ride or even bust a move to your favourite tunes … just get those muscles movin’!
+ BE MINDFUL
Exercising mindful eating is a daily practice. Check in with yourself and ask how truly hungry you are. What is it that you’re hungry for? Are you simply feeling anxious over family and the ‘holiday stress’ or are you truly hungry? We eat for so many reasons beyond just hunger, but having a strong mind-body connection will help you tremendously in figuring out whether you need to have that extra Christmas cookie or if it’s just the stress or mindless snacking that’s at play.
Now go on and enjoy your holidays knowing that you can indulge and be healthy at the same time! It’s all about balance and keeping a positive, mindful attitude. We hope these tips help you through the celebratory season and leave you feeling ready to take on the New Year ahead.
We would love to hear what your tips are for staying healthy and vibrant throughout the party season. Share with us in the comments below!
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