Holidays are a wonderful time to bring people together and food is often a focal point – this is why we decided to compile 10 best health tips for your holiday season. There’s shopping, visiting, and planning holiday events, easily making it one of the craziest time of the year but also the most fun too. There are many ways to enjoy celebrations without totally losing track of your healthy eating and fitness goals. Focus on the occasion and being with friends and family, not only on the food. The stress of the holidays can really affect us – I personally try to avoid the malls during the month of December! This season gives us a change to be able to enjoy time with family and friends, but it can be easy to forget about our own needs and goals, particularly the effect of the holidays on the body. During busy days spent at the mall, running errands around the city, attending a dinner party or having a family meal, put little strategies into place to take care of yourself and get good food in your body to keep your energy and spirit up!
10 Best Health Tips for Holidays:
- Keep your eye on portion sizes: One of the main health tips, is that it’s not what you eat, but how much that can lead to overindulgence at any time of the year. The mentality that these special foods are only available once a year lead us to overeat them. Use your regular portion sizes to guide your serving sizes. For those extra treats that are not considered part of your regular meal plan, enjoy a small portion.
- Position yourself wisely: When attending events or gatherings that food is served, stand away from where the food is setup so you are not tempted to mindlessly munch. Gravitate towards where raw vegetable sticks and low fat dips are.
- Serve dessert wisely: A beautiful tray of fresh fruit is a wonderful and refreshing end to any meal. Pineapple, kiwi, mango, pomegranate, blood oranges and grapes, guava, lychees, papaya, banana are a colourful feast for the eyes and taste buds instead of high fat and calorie baked goods.
- Offer to bring some food with you: This is one of the sneakiest health tips. When heading to a friend’s or family’s house for dinner, offer to bring a dish along. Bringing a dish you made that fits with your diet will ensure you have a healthy option if unsure of what is being served or if the menu is less than friendly to your waistline.
- Pack a ‘car or plane picnic’: If traveling to your celebration, be armed with snacks and meal options that fit your diet rather than relying on fast food or other convenience options that might not have suitable choices.
- Eat before you go: Eat a snack prior to going to an event so you can focus on the social aspects of the party rather than just the food!
- Eat regularly: If you regularly eat three meals every day and 2 snacks, starting with breakfast, keep your eating habits the same. If you are hungry between meals, try having a small healthy snack. Having regular snacks and meals may help prevent you from overeating at holiday meals. Limit the number of appetizers you eat, especially if you are planning to have a full meal later. If you are having a buffet, choose the smaller size plate, look at the choices first before you start filling your plate and take only what you need to feel satisfied.
- Manage water and fiber: Fiber is especially important during the holidays to keep our bodies moving along, working well while we have busy days and are eating on different schedules, helping us feel full when out and about. Staying hydrated is also something to be mindful of; when we’re busy we seem to forget about drinking enough. Being dehydrated can impact your energy in a negative way making you feel slow and drowsy. Bring a large water bottle with you and refill it as you go. Most people need between 2 and 3 Litres of water daily.
- Keep up with your workouts: Aim to continue your regular workout patterns. The regular exercise not only gives you energy to cope with stress of the holiday craziness, but can help compensate for overindulgences. No time or access to the gym? Do bodyweight exercise at home, do indoor exercise while watching your favourite TV show or chatting on the phone (squats, stretches, legwork, sit-ups, push-ups), try YouTube workouts, get outside for a jog, or get active playing in the snow you’re your family. Every bit of physical activity you can sneak in counts.
- Utilize trackers: Track your eating and activity level over the holiday season to help you stay on track. MyFitnessPal is especially user-friendly, and Dietitians of Canada EATracker is a verified tool that is easy to use. Make these healthy living tips part of your routine the whole year round – not just for the holidays.
We hope you find these tips helpful and feel better prepared for your time away from home in this busy season! Stay tuned for more health tips each week throughout the holiday season.