During the holidays it can be difficult to stay on track with your health goals. It’s just too cold to get up early for a morning workout, and by the end of the day I’m too tired to go for a run. It seems like everywhere I turn, there are sweets all around. There’s too much to do before Christmas and New years, I don’t have time to cook or to go to the gym. Does this sound familiar?
It is the holidays, and the holidays are meant to be enjoyed, right? Here are a few simple tips to help keep your health a priority on your daily to do list while still taking part in the joys of the holidays.
- Start your day with a brainy breakfast, packed with protein and complex carbohydrates. Veggies for breakfast? Why not! Have some eggs over sprouted bread, mashed avocado and some arugula. Or make a delicious smoothie! When you start the day off with a healthy breakfast, you set your day for helping you to control unhealthy cravings. And if you do nibble on a piece of chocolate, at least, you’ll have had some healthy protein, fats, carbohydrates, and antioxidants first.
- Use idle time for movement. No time to go to the gym? Too cold and dark to go for a run? So how to get that blood flowing and all those extra calories burned? If you ever find yourself waiting, (in line at the store, at the doctors office, at a stop light) try to find a way to incorporate movement. I keep a stress ball in my car and squeeze it when I’m sitting at a red light. Do some stretching while filling up your car’s gas tank. Put on some dance music while cooking dinner and rock out. Get a mini rebounder and instead of sitting while watching television at night, jump! Get creative. The more unique, the more fun it can be. These small bits of movement can add up and can help ward off some unwanted extra pounds.
- Find a healthier alternative, or make it yourself. There are tons of sweets to choose from. Find a healthier alternative by buying organic or making a healthier version of the treat. The other day, we made chocolate chip cookies with a few simple ingredients: almond flour, coconut oil, baking powder, honey, salt, and chocolate chips. It was super delicious, had much less sugar and no unhealthy fats, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. We didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything, and they were so easy to make. Next time, we’ll add some cinnamon for a more festive and holiday themed treat! In my opinion homemade is best. You can control the ingredients, and made with love is what the holidays are all about.
- Plan quick meals or make large batches you can freeze and save for next week. I like using my Instant Pot. I can make some great soups and stews that are simple, delicious, and healthy, and they freeze well too. I’ll also prepare several storage containers of salads each week so that I can just grab one in the morning before I leave the house.
- Find healthier take-out restaurants that you can to to instead of stopping at the local fast food joint. These days, there are healthier options for restaurants. Call or order ahead, and you’ll save time waiting for your food. (If you do end up waiting, don’t forget to try to incorporate movement as mentioned above.) Even grocery stores like Sprouts, Mothers, and Whole Foods offer a variety of healthier options compared to the typical fast food joint. They typically don’t have long wait-times, just serve, pay, and go. Some of my favorite local healthy eats near me include Green Tomato Grill, Wahoo’s, Mead’s Green Door Cafe, and Urban Cactus.
- Use self control with Traffic Light Eating. If you are bombarded from all over with savories and sweets galore, time to practice traffic-light-eating. Remember, Green light is go and this is for fruits and vegetables. Yellow light means slow down. These are the things that are good to eat everyday but not too much. Food like fish, yogurt, chicken, eggs, and whole grains are Yellow light foods. And the Red light, that means stop and think or choose a smaller portion. Think fast food, deserts, and basically most of the refined and processed food that’s out there as Red light food. Remember that your body needs real food. Those are the foods that are health promoting, green light, and yellow light. The Red light foods are health harming. Try to eat lots of Green and Yellow light food before you indulge in the Red. If you fill up on the good stuff, you are more likely to eat a much smaller portion of Red light food. Besides, it’s cold and flu season. Feed the good bugs in your body so that they can fight off the bad ones by choosing to eat a wide variety of Green and Yellow light foods.
- Eat throughout the day. Eating 4 to 5 small meals throughout the day will help keep your blood sugar steady and can help prevent those unhealthy cravings. Not only that, it can also help stabilize your mood and your energy levels so that you might actually feel like going for a walk at lunch time, or reaching for an apple instead of a doughnut at 3 in the afternoon.
- Hang out with like minded people. Do you know someone who is a good influence on your health? Spend more time with these people. Their good habits are more likely to rub off on you. Buddy up with your spouse, a friend or relative, share your health goals with each other, encourage each other, and keep one another accountable. Having a health partner can help keep you on track and can also give you some positive encouragement to make better lifestyle choices. Besides, it’s a lot more fun to do it together. Make sure you celebrate your successes, then set new goals to keep pushing you to achieve your optimal health. Interested in working with a health coach? Contact Me.
Above all, have fun, and enjoy the time with family and friends. Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!