Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year! With all the family gatherings, parties and reunions, it is really a time when food is celebrated at its best. But it is also a time when we tend to overeat or totally forget about our health regime and sometimes end up having digestive issues and worse, even illness. I myself have been in that situation when I fell so sick because of what I ate and I ended up not being able to enjoy the rest of the festivities. So, through the years, I kind of learned to find the balance to still be able to stay on top of my game when it comes to staying healthy and in shape while enjoying a little holiday indulgence. Read up to find my TOP 7 TIPS to STAY HEALTHY THRU THE HOLIDAYS!
TIP # 1. Eat REAL food as often as you can. If you’re at home, try to have more whole grains, more fruits and vegetables, and less refined carbs and sugars. So you can start your day for example with a hearty bowl of oatmeal or yogurt with some fresh fruits, or a healthy smoothie. I usually add a low-glycemic, gluten-free protein powder and fiber (I use this) to make it even more filling. It also helps in curb sweet cravings throughout the day.
Try having ‘Meatless Mondays’ where you have one meal with no meat at all. It’s a good way to detox your system from all the meats you’ll have in the days to come. When you eat out, pick first those dishes which have vegetables and plant proteins like beans, so it will fill you longer and you are less likely to binge throughout the day. Fill your belly with the good stuff first, so by the time you are at the dessert station, you are quite full and won’t end up overloading on sugars and pastries. Remember, It’s not so much the quantity of calories you take in, but it’s more of the QUALITY of the calories.
TIP #2. Drink more WATER. Go ahead and have your glass of red or white, but make sure you also drink enough water to keep you hydrated. Sometimes you think you are hungry, but when in fact you really are just thirsty.
In the morning, before you eat anything, drink a tall glass of warm water first. You can even add a slice of lemon, and probiotics to show some gut love. I use a dairy- and lactose-free probiotic (I use this). This helps flush out your system from toxins and enables your body to absorb nutrients better from the food you will eat. A healthy gut equals better digestion which is a critical element when it comes to overall health and weight management.
TIP #3. Get MOVING! Burn those calories by finding time to get off that couch and getting at leat 30 minutes of physical activity at least four times a week. Try taking the stairs, or walking your dog, or doing 20 squats while online shopping, or better yet go out and shop by foot!
Make your home or your office your workout place. You don’t need a gym. All you need is YOU, a bit of space, and a blocked time to really do it. It’s never about not having enough time, it’s about making time. Trust me, you’ll feel great after sweating it out, and you’ll look stunning in that party dress too! Wink!
TIP #4. Experiment in HOME-COOKING. Home-cooked food is way healthier as compared to food from restaurants which is usually packed with more salt and sugar. When you prep your own food for parties, you can guarantee the freshness, quality, and also control the flavor to your liking. Plus it’s much more nourishing to the soul when it is cooked with vitamin L — LOVE! Something that we all should give more during holidays!
If you are new to home-cooking, search online for simple holiday recipes you can try, or you can even make it into a pot-luck lunch or dinner where guests also bring their home-cooked dish. You can also find lots of easy, delicious, healthy dishes in my recipe archive especially baked goodies that have much less calories and are friendlier to your hips!
TIP #5. Watch the PORTIONS. It can start with picking a smaller plate so it actually looks ‘full’ even if you haven’t placed as much food on it. Experts say that there is in fact a psychology behind the connection between the volume of what you eat to the size of your plate. When we have a bigger plate, we tend to eat more since our mind tells us to fill the plate with more food.
You can also share a main or a dessert if you’re in a restaurant. I usually do that with my boys or when I’m dining out with friends. Here in Australia, a regular serving is usually more than enough for two so sharing a pasta dish or a cake slice for example is a clever and healthy thing to do.
TIP #6. Tame down the SUGAR. This is probably the hardest to do especially with all the holiday treats that surround you. But you can still satisfy your sweet tooth by switching to healthier alternatives. Since I’ve ditched refined sugar at home, I always keep my stash of pure honey or pure maple syrup to sweeten things up in dishes and baked goods. I also use coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, and stevia as other options. Even for chocolate, you can still enjoy it but go for dark chocolate (at least 70%) and pick the ones of high-quality. And instead of going for artificially flavored sugary drinks, you can make your own refreshing drink using freshly squeezed juices. You can also make frozen yogurt or popsicles to replace ice cream. It’s perfect for kids! I’ve also tried ‘NICE’ cream which is simply frozen fruit like bananas or strawberries then blended on high-speed and enjoyed like a soft serve and topped with more fresh fruits and dark chocolate chips. YUM!
TIP # 7. Eat MINDFULLY. We tend to eat so fast these days that we miss to savor the meal itself. They say, eat like Italians do and enjoy every bite! Chew slowly and take your time to really enjoy the flavors in what you are eating. We all know that when food is broken down into smaller pieces thru proper chewing, then it gets better digested and the nutrients are more absorbed into our system. Be more mindful also of your food choices and think about how it would nourish your body, and how it can give you more energy and stamina.
When you’re at the dining table, turn off the TV, put that smartphone down and focus on the people you are with. More than the food, it’s the companionship which truly matters every time we share meals. And when we talk more, we tend to eat less! So true, right?
And there you have it, my TOP 7 TIPS to help you go through the holidays on a healthy note! Do you have more healthy tips? Share them in below comments. You can also share this post to a friend or family if you’ve enjoyed reading it.
I wish you and your family a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!! Here’s to better health and more abundance in the year to come!