Keep Healthy this Holiday Season
Keep Healthy this Holiday Season
by Amanda Hawkinson
It’s that time of year again. With delectable temptation around every corner it can be difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season. Whether it is a holiday feast or traditional holiday goodies at the work place, it is easy for “a bite” to turn into “Why did I eat that whole cake?” The following are a few simple tips to help you maintain your healthy diet and stay active through this time of temptation.
Keep the focus on fun, not food.
Most holidays are associated with certain foods. If your house is like mine, Christmas is just not the same without your aunt’s green bean casserole or your mom’s incredible ham, but that doesn’t mean food has to be the main focus. Instead, throw yourself into the other rituals a holiday brings, whether it’s caroling or tree trimming.
Modify your eating times so that they jive with your relatives’.
Not everyone is on the same eating schedule. Sometimes when we have family over it is easy to just cook randomly when someone is hungry. However, here’s how to compromise: If they wake up later than you do and serve a late breakfast at 10:30. Then they skip lunch and serve Christmas ‘dinner’ at 3 p.m., in order to keep your blood sugar steady without overdoing it on calories, have an early-morning snack (such as a piece of whole-grain toast) before your relatives rise and shine. Their late breakfast will count as your ‘real’ breakfast, plus some of your lunch. Enjoy the 3 p.m. meal – but don’t overdo it! – and have a small snack at around 8 p.m.
Cut down your own Christmas tree.
Instead of buying a tree from a lot where the trees have been drying out for weeks, visit a tree farm that allows you to cut your own. It will be fresher and probably less expensive than they are at the lot. You’ll burn off calories and combat some of the blood-sugar effects of the sugar cookie you snuck by searching around the grounds to find just the right tree. Plus, your family will have another fond holiday memory to look back on.
Indulge in only the most special holiday treats.
Skip the store-bought cookies at Christmas, but do save some calories in your ‘budget’ to sample treats that are homemade and special to your family, such as your wife’s special Yule log cake. This is a great time to train yourself to know what to indulge in and what to skip and it is much like budgeting your mad money: Do you want to blow it on garbage that you can buy anywhere or on a very special, one-of-a-kind souvenir? Just don’t completely deprive yourself on festive days – your willpower will eventually snap, and you’ll end up overeating.
Make the change!
The habit: Staying physically active during the holidays.
The result: Gaining less weight over the years.
The proof: A study conducted by the U.S. government found adults gained, on average, more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays – and that they were not at all likely to shed that weight the following year. (That may not sound like a lot now, but it means having to buy roomier pants after a few Christmases pass.) The good news is that the people who reported the most physical activity through the holiday season showed the least weight gain. Some even managed to lose weight.
Stock the freezer with healthy meals.
Everyone is extremely busy during the holidays, and almost everyone wants to spend time shopping, decorating, or seeing friends and family, which leaves less time to cook healthy meals. Start your defensive action several weeks ahead of time by cooking meals intended specifically for the freezer. You’ll be thankful later when you can pop one of the meals into the oven or microwave and turn your attention instead to writing out holiday cards with a personal message in each.
Pour the gravy and sauces lightly.
You may have no control over what’s placed on the table at a holiday meal, but you can make the turkey, roast beef, and even mashed potatoes and stuffing much healthier by foregoing the sauce or gravy or spooning on just a small amount.
Take the focus off of food and drinks this holiday season by embracing a project that will have lasting meaning: Organizing your family photos.
What household doesn’t have a mountain of family photos that need to be sorted? Organizing this kind of clutter will be stress relief in itself, but you also will get an emotional lift when you glimpse the photos again. (Plus, what better holiday gift to give yourself or someone you love than a gorgeous album filled with family memories?) If you don’t already have a photo organization system, try this: Find a shoebox or another box that’s the right width to accommodate photographs. Use cardboard rectangles as dividers between categories of photos. (You can also buy photo boxes with these dividers.) Write a category label across the top of each divider (‘Susan,’ ‘Christmas,’ ‘Family,’ and ‘Pets,’ for instance). As you go through your photos, slide the very best into an album, then file other photos you want to keep into the appropriate category in your shoebox, and throw the rest away.
Toast the New Year with just one glass of bubbly.
Just because you are celebrating it doesn’t mean that that you should over indulge, whether it is your meals or your judgment. Alcohol can interfere with your blood sugar by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream; it can also contain a lot of calories – 89 calories per glass of white wine or champagne, 55 calories in a shot of vodka, and 146 calories in a 12oz bottle of beer. What’s more, alcohol breaks down your inhibitions and judgment, which makes you that much less likely to resist the junk foods that you would otherwise be able to pass up.
So, make this year different. Making subtle changes can have a positive effect on your overall health during the holiday season.
Source: 759 Secrets for Beating Diabetes