Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

Heading to a few holiday parties and family dinners?

Craving all the shortbread, sugar cookies, and chocolate that the season brings?

Already dreading “getting back into shape” in January???

Rather than kicking off 2020 hoping to lose 10 pounds, try these 10 tips to stay healthy this holiday season and start the new year feeling healthy and strong!

  1. Nourish and hydrate yourself well all day long. By nourishing and hydrating your body all day long, you are less likely to crave sugary sweets later in the day.
  2. Have a veggie platter before you head to holiday parties. When you arrive hungry to a holiday party, you are less likely to be mindful about the food and beverage choices you make. Have a salad or veggies dipped in hummus or cottage cheese before you go to help satisfy your appetite.  D1317C5E-29A4-4731-9941-1902EC525963
  3. Fill half your plate with bright coloured veggies and fruits. Whether you use the “small plate strategy” or stick with the larger ones, try filling half of your plate with brightly coloured fruits and veggies. This will increase the nutrition you take in, and reduce the calories coming from foods higher in sugar and saturated fat.
  4. Offer to bring a salad or veggie platter. If you are headed to a potluck or family gathering, offer to bring a salad or vegetable-based dish. This will ensure that there is an option available to fill ½ your plate with!
  5. Choose beverages mindfully. Many festive drinks are full of simple added sugars and/or alcohol. Try sparkling water instead of pop or a spritzer instead of a glass of wine. Also remember that alcohol is dehydrating, so enjoy a glass of water in between any drinks that contain alcohol and remember to always drink responsibly.
  6. Pick your “10 out of 10”. Did you know that you experience an endorphin release in your brain when certain flavours hit your taste buds?! These are the tastes to choose and savour…not the ones that are just “tasty without the wow factor”. If you are going to enjoy the peppermint cheesecake, then it is the dessert that makes you close your eyes and smile from ear to ear!!! If it doesn’t bring you that sense of excitement, pass it by…it isn’t worth it!
  7. See the value in 1-3 bites. Speaking of cheesecake, what if you were to savour…and I mean really savour…1, 2, or 3 bites?! How would that feel? Typically, our taste buds are most aware of the first few bites of a food, so there is value in enjoying those! But then stop when you feel satisfied. Just because you chose the cheesecake, doesn’t mean you need to eat the whole thing.
  8. Notice when you feel satisfied (before you feel “stuffed”). Try to notice when you feel that you have had enough food, but not so much that you feel uncomfortable. Eating is meant to be an enjoyable experience, not one that leaves you in pain physically or facing regret mentally. Remember that you will have many opportunities to enjoy your seasonal favourites. You do not need large portions all the time.
  9. Sit down and use a utensil. It is very easy to graze and take in an unknown amount of food when we stand to eat and/or eat with our hands. Try to make a guideline for yourself that you will enjoy food (whether at home or at a holiday gathering) while seated. And, as often as possible, ensure that the food is on a plate or in a bowl and you are using a utensil.
  10. Find value and excitement in the social experience, not just the food. Last, but not least, holiday gatherings are about so much more than the food! Rather than focussing on the sweets and treats, try focussing on the conversation and excitement of seeing friends and loved ones.

BONUS TIP: Stay active. Moving your body supports amazing physical and mental health. Try to engage in 30 minutes of physical activity everyday all year long…even in the busy holiday season!

 

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