7 simple ways to stay healthy this holiday season
It’s that time of year again! The time we both dread and eagerly anticipate. The holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy the company of family and friends. But it’s also a time where we all tend to overeat and let our exercise routines fall to the wayside.
Pulling on your skinny jeans after a whirlwind holiday season, you sigh. They are just a pinch too tight. Dang it mashed potatoes! To heck with you juicy holiday roast! And don’t even get me started on the foray of desserts.
It’s both a season of joy and a season of temptation. It’s hard to make healthy choices on a regular day, but when there’s a buffet of homemade foods you only get to eat once a year—restraint is near impossible! It can feel overwhelming to think about how to be healthy during this time of year—but we’ve got you covered. Prevent the seasonal bulk up this year with some simple holiday health tips.
How to eat healthy during the holidays
1. Eat close to your usual meal times to keep your blood sugar steady. No one wants to deal with a hangry person on a holiday! Don’t fast or skip meals to save up for the big feast—that will only lead to overeating. Instead, have a small protein-packed meal to keep you sated until the big holiday meal.
2. Be choosy about your calories. Save them for the special holiday foods and treats you can’t get other times of the year. Aunt Valerie’s award-winning apple pie or Grandma Cathy’s twice-baked potatoes are worth the calories. Store-bought dinner rolls? Not so much.
If you know you are more of a dessert person, save your carb intake for when the sweets come out. If you are more of a savory person, go for the mashed potatoes, crescent rolls, or baked brie—but then steer clear of the Christmas cookies!
3. A big healthy holiday tip? Fill half of your plate up with vegetables during the meal and eat those first. As tempting as the other more caloric dishes are, it’s best to fill up on the healthy stuff. You’ll still be able to eat the other stuff, but in complete moderation. If you are attending a meal in which there will be few healthy options, offer to bring a few dishes of your own.
Also, consider replacing some of the usual appetizers with healthy holiday snacks like crudité. The more vegetables the better! Of course, unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you aren’t looking for an entirely vegetable-centric meal. Not to worry! There are many healthy substitutes for holiday classics too.
Healthy Holiday Recipes
This is a simple recipe that takes all of an hour to prepare. Pop those brussels sprouts in the oven for 45 minutes, until tender. Then toss the roasted sprouts with pomegranate seeds, pomegranate molasses, hazelnuts, and orange zest. The end product is beautiful, autumnal, and healthy!
Are you a mashed potato lover? Then this healthy substitute is for you. Instead of starchy, carb-filled potatoes, this recipe utilizes mashed cauliflower. Simply steam the cauliflower until tender, and then transfer to a food processor. Blend the steamed cauliflower until it has a creamy texture. Then add in some sautéed garlic, parmesan, reduced-fat cream cheese, salt, and pepper. Voila! You have a delicious dish that is lighter and healthier than its potato alternative.
Instead of a heavy meat dish as the main course for your holiday meal, why not consider a lighter fish alternative? It’ll save room for other yummy sides and dessert, but still be a beautiful and satisfying centerpiece of the meal. When buying the salmon fillet, stick to about a ½ pound per person. Bake this salmon on top of a bed of sliced lemons wrapped in tin foil. Whisk together butter, honey, garlic, thyme, and oregano for a quick glaze. Garnish the dish with fresh springs of thyme and fresh parsley—it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
You’re going to want to give yourself extra time to prepare this dessert as it needs to be refrigerated overnight. The trick to this less fattening spin on traditional cheesecake is cutting out most of the cream cheese and replacing it with 1% cottage cheese. A graham cracker crust, cocoa and espresso powders, semisweet chocolate, and vanilla round out this delicious recipe. Top with fresh raspberries and mint leaves—even the kids will be interested in this chocolatey dessert.
Holiday mindfulness and self care
4. A good rule of thumb for life in general, but especially around the holidays, is to be mindful throughout your meal. Eat slowly so that your body has time to tell you it’s full. If you do finish your portion and still feel hungry, take ten minutes before helping yourself to seconds. This gives you time to assess if you’re really still hungry, or if you just like the food so much you want to overeat.
5. Staying with the theme of mindfulness, really try to fully experience your meal. Use all five senses to take in the scene before you. Take note of the different flavors, textures, and colors. It’s not about how much you eat. Everything should be consumed in moderation. No particular food has to be off-limits, just don’t overdo it. Savor every bite—the holiday season only comes once a year! Don’t rush through it.
6. A lack of sleep makes it harder to control your blood sugar and can lead to mindless eating. Studies prove that skimping on sleep leads to overeating. People who don’t get enough sleep eat twice as much fat and more than 300 extra calories the next day, compared to those who sleep for the recommended 8 hours. (6)
The holidays are a busy time, there’s a lot to get done, and that can lead to less sleep. It’s important to prioritize sleep as it will lead to healthy holiday eating. If you have trouble sleeping, consider trying Mybite Sleep, which contains melatonin, or a calcium supplement like Mybite Calcium. Calcium helps the body naturally produce melatonin, helping you get the sleep you need.
Still wondering how to stay healthy over the holidays? Stay active!
7. Stay active throughout the holidays. Yes, things are busy this time of year. Yes, there are a million things for you to do, but physical activity is definitely not the thing to skimp on.
Exercise not only keeps unwanted pounds at bay, but it also increases endorphins, putting you in a better mood. You can even make it a group or family activity. Plan an all-inclusive hike, walk, or bike ride into your holiday festivities. Post-meal walks are especially beneficial and help you digest. You could even throw on some upbeat holiday tunes and start a family dance party. Dancing hard enough will definitely make you get that heart rate up, and the kids will love it.
It’s important to take time for yourself though, too. If you are feeling overwhelmed, excusing yourself to get in some exercise will provide you with some much-needed alone time. Getting outdoors for some sunshine is a great way to improve your mood and reduce stress. If you live somewhere without a lot of wintertime sunlight, consider taking a multivitamin like vitamin D to make up for the lack of rays.
Bonus: Remember what the holidays are all about…
This season is not just about the food. It’s about the company. It’s about family and friends coming together. Try to find moments of peace throughout the chaos of preparing for the big family gathering and parties.
Taking care of yourself will prevent burnout, exhaustion, and sickness. We all know winter is the time of year for colds and flu—and that will definitely slow you down. To ensure healthy holidays, help your body out with Mybite Immune as an added immune system booster. One ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—so be sure to check out other Mybite vitamins for extra preventative care.