The holiday season is often associated with stuffing our cheeks with our favorite comfort foods while we are among family and friends on the couch. There is no denying it, it is downright magical, tasty and, let’s face it, comfortable. Maybe that comfort comes from the fact that some tend to lean heavily on the yummy food and opt out of the fit lifestyle because, hey, it’s winter, right?
Well, let us be the first to say, “bah-humbug”. If the holidays means letting all of your hard work go, then that is just not holly or jolly to us. It is totally possible to enjoy delicious, comforting, healthy food that doesn’t cut your weight loss efforts in half. It is also very possible to stay active and fit in the winter months, yes, even on holidays.
Here is a list of 9 tips that to stay healthy while enjoying your holiday season to the fullest!
1. Modify your eating times to keep up with the sporadic mealtimes of the holidays.
Holidays are a great time lounge, sleep in, and enjoy your family time, which is all great! However, you can still keep up your healthy lifestyle and relax. Often times, sleeping in leads to later breakfasts at, for example, 10:30, which results in skipping lunch and having dinner at 3:30. In order to keep your blood sugar steady without going too heavy on the calories, try having a morning snack before your late breakfast with the fam. This way you won’t be famished by the time brunch rolls around. This will help you avoid overdoing it on brunch. Then enjoy your 3 P.M. meal and have another snack at 8 P.M.
2. Keep your eye on the fun, not the food.
Food is often the highlight of the holidays, as it should be because it’s delicious, however, instead of snacking on appetizers and waiting around for the main courses to come, trying indulging on some holiday traditions and activities away from the kitchen or couch. From caroling and sledding to tree trimming and snowshoeing, there are many options!
3. Get your family together and cut down your own Christmas tree.
It’s easy to go to a tree lot and snag a tree where the trees have been drying out for weeks. Instead, visit a tree farm that allows you to cut your own. It will be fresher and probably less expensive than they are at the lot. You’ll burn off calories, get some fresh air outdoors, and combat some of the blood-sugar effects of the plentiful chocolate and cookies of the holidays. This will also create great memories for you and your family to look back on.
4. Indulge in only the most special holiday treats.
We are surrounded by all varieties and assortments of holiday treats during the holidays. IT seems almost impossible to pass an aisle in the grocery store that does have them. Skip the store-bought cookies at Christmas, instead, make it taste even better and more special and indulge in the desserts that are special to your family. Just don’t completely deprive yourself on festive days – your willpower will eventually snap, and you’ll end up overeating. It’ll be like Christmas morning when you finally get to eat the treat you have been looking forward to!
5. Stock the freezer with healthy meals.
The holiday season is an extremely busy time. Between shopping, decorating, or seeing friends and family, we are left with less time to cook healthy meals. Take defensive action several weeks ahead of time by cooking meals intended specifically for the freezer. This way you are prepared for those nights when you are just too busy or tired to cook from scratch. You’ll be thankful later when you can pop one of the meals into the oven or microwave.
6. Make the change you have always wanted.
Make staying physically active during the holidays a habit for every year. This will result in gaining less weight during the winter each year. A study conducted by the U.S. government found that adults gained, on average, more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays – and that they were not at all likely to shed that weight the following year. Picture that pound of weight adding up over the years. Nobody wants a pound added to their body for Christmas. The good news is that the people who reported the most physical activity through the holiday season showed the least weight gain. Some even managed to lose weight. There you have it, proof that staying fit during the winter and holidays is possible and really makes a difference.
7. Go light on the gravy and the sauces.
You may not have a say in what goes into the holiday meals but you do have a say in how much of it ends up on your plate. You can make the turkey, roast beef, and even mashed potatoes and stuffing much healthier by leaving out the sauce. If the sauce and the gravy are your absolute fave, then just use a little, you don’t need your food swimming in it.
8. Toast the new year with only one glass of bubbly.
Celebrating is fun and it can be done right without overdoing it on the alcohol. Alcohol can interfere with your blood sugar by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream; it also contains quite a lot of calories – 89 calories per glass of white wine or champagne, 55 calories in a shot of vodka, and 170 calories in a pint of stout beer. It’s also very common to find yourself in a state that causes a lapse in judgment, causing you to gorge on unhealthy, late night snacks. One glass of bubbly to cheers with your friends is just enough to have a good time and celebrate without losing your way.