With the winter months come an array of holidays, each with their special food and drinks. At the same time as our food choices become more relaxed, physical activity often takes a back seat to holiday activities.
For many, the results of this combination are the addition of a few extra pounds of holiday weight that doesn’t leave despite of New Year’s resolutions. Here are 8 ways you can stay healthy during the holidays!
1. Drink Plenty of Water
During the holiday season or any of the winter months, it is easy to forget to hydrate. That’s because many of us don’t recognize thirst unless we are overheating.
Also, it is common to confuse thirst with hunger, so many will reach for a snack instead, but drinking water throughout the day will help keep your body hydrated, which can, in turn, lower cravings and aid digestion. Try setting a reminder on your phone or keep a water bottle with you as a reminder to drink 6 to 8 glasses a day.
While water may not sound like a fun holiday drink, you can easily add your flavorings to keep your taste buds happy. Try infusing your water with flavors by adding fruits and herbs into a pitcher of water. Simply let it sit on your counter or in the fridge overnight to enjoy the best flavor.
Stay healthy with lemon and ginger in your water, or make holiday-inspired flavors with combinations like apple slices and cinnamon or pomegranate and orange slices.
2. Focus on Immunity
The winter months usually bring the common cold and flu along with the cold weather. Unfortunately, being sick can interfere with your work schedule, holiday fun, and fitness goals. But certain foods and practices can help boost your immunity and get you through the holiday season with a clean bill of health.
Try to include foods into your daily diet like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi to aid digestion and boost immunity. Turn yogurt into a treat by adding a cup of berries, which also provide fiber, improve insulin response, and even fight inflammation that can lower immunity.
Avoid consuming too many sugary drinks, alcohol, desserts, or sugary treats, as sugar suppresses the immune system, leaving you at a higher risk of getting sick.
3. Find Food Substitutes for Your Favorites
Part of the fun of holidays is the special food it brings. And with today’s creative chefs sharing their skills with the world, it’s easy to find healthy alternatives to some of the high fat or high sugar favorites.
For example, pumpkin pies can be made in a vegan version or low sugar, while stuffing can be replaced with wild rice and sweet potato version. Other ideas include cauliflower stuffing, or balsamic and olive oil braised green beans to add a flavorful zest to any holiday meal.
Even holiday cookies can be made healthier with substitutions like gluten-free almond flour, or molasses gingerbread cookies. Experimenting with new, healthier versions of your favorite treats might even become a new holiday tradition!
4. Eat Before the Party
Holiday parties can be a challenge with tables full of tasty treats that are hard to resist. But you might find them easier to limit by enjoying a healthy meal or snack before you head out. Right before the party is the perfect time to have your immune-boosting yogurt and berries or a high protein snack that will keep your appetite at bay.
Enjoy dinner at home, or if you are heading to a dinner party, snack on a small handful of nuts, apple slices with almond butter, or another combination that is high in protein and healthy fats. Doing so can help you feel satiated and stay in line with your fitness goals.
5. Limit Alcohol
Alcoholic drinks are packed with empty calories and make it easy to overindulge. At the same time, alcohol can increase hunger and subdue your willpower; a bad combination for anyone trying to stay healthy.
If you do have alcohol, make sure you eat first and then choose your drink wisely. If you have eggnog, limit the amount as it is high in calories and fat. Healthier options would be mixing your alcohol with diluted juice or a juice-flavored seltzer.
6. Revitalize Your Workout
Winter is a good time to revitalize your workout with fresh moves or even a whole different workout. Find a new goal to gear your workout toward, like learning to snowboard, improving your skiing skills, or entering a holiday walk or race. Other winter activities like snowshoeing burn more calories than running and can provide a chance to enjoy some winter scenery.
More calorie burning sports include ice skating, sledding, and even snowmobiling. And remember that physical activity during the winter months can help you beat the blues while staying in shape, while you burn any extra holiday calories you may have enjoyed.
If you're stuck inside, then check out our upcoming 12 days of fitness challenge, where we will have numerous workouts ALL FREE TO YOU!
7. Indulge Yourself with TLC
The holidays can get stressful, but a little practice can help you become a master of your mental state. Take time for yourself and take a deep breath, enjoy a warm cup of tea, or meditate. Try burning a candle with your favorite winter scent and listen to holiday music that makes you happy while you do chores.
Turn off the television or computer and relax in a warm bubble bath with soothing essential oil. These practices can dial down stress and help you cope better, which can help you stay in control of your diet and physical activity.
8. Remember to Enjoy the Holidays
The holidays are about celebration, family, and friends. Don’t overcommit yourself, eat well, and get plenty of sleep. And most of all, take care of yourself and remember to enjoy the holiday season because you deserve it.
Don't forget to tune into this week's podcast at Yes.Fit Live to hear Coach CC, joined by Coach Chris and they drive more into this topic.