How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

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The holiday season is here! For some that brings excitement and joy and for others it means stress and well, more stress. One thing we can all agree upon is that the holidays usually involve less time for healthy habits and more unhealthy treats and foods around.

Good news, there is a way to bring balance to the month of December. You can keep your healthy habits going that you’ve been working on for the entire year(s) and still enjoy some treats and once-a-year holiday food.

First things first, let’s talk food. I am not here to tell you to not indulge in the treats you love during the holidays. There should be no shame centered around the foods you choose to eat, whether it’s the holidays or any other time of year. You should not feel guilty for the choices you make or the food you eat. If it’s a once a year treat during a traditional dinner with your family do you really want to say no to this? Definitely not, you want to enjoy the moment, the food and the people you’re around.

However, I am here to tell you that you can say no to the treats that are not worth it. This is different for every person, and sure, takes some will-power, but hear me out. The treats that inevitably end up in the break room at work from the grocery store that you can eat any old day of the year…not worth it!  The junky, not even good tasting Christmas candy lying around everywhere…not worth it! Just because it’s there, do not feel like you must eat it! This get’s trickier when you’re around people and feel obligated to eat something they’ve prepared, but ultimately it’s your health and your decision. Do not feel obligated to eat food you know will not help you feel great, achieve your goals or that you even want in the first place. It’s your body, your decision. There are plenty of polite ways to decline a Christmas cookie you have no desire to eat.

Load up on veggies and healthy foods when you can. When I know I’m going to be eating more treats, or eating out for a holiday dinner or party, I aim to keep all of my other meals and snacks during that week very healthy and full of clean ingredients and vegetables. I think of it as amping it up a notch on the healthy scale. Knowing that I’m eating healthy a majority of the time helps me to feel my best, and also allows me to not feel guilty when I do eat something not so great for me. This creates an easy way to get back into a healthy eating routine after the party or treats too, and I don’t feel like throwing in the towel because of a few holiday treats.

Meal prep is a huge help. Inevitably there is less time during the holidays, so meal prep becomes an essential tool to keeping healthy. Making a big batch of healthy foods and meals at the beginning of the week will be invaluable to you when you’re trying to stick to a healthy routine. Even just an hour on the weekend to  hard boil some eggs, chop some veggies or cook up some ground beef will save you time during the busy weeks and keep you on track.

Make time for exercise and movement. Working out and staying active is usually the first thing to fall to the wayside when the holidays come around and there’s less time. Make it a priority, your body and your mind will thank you. Exercise relieves stress, and let’s face it, the holidays are stressful! Even if it’s just a twenty-minute walk at the end of the day or some stretching in the living room, aim to get in some sort of movement nearly everyday.

Keep it simple. In all aspects of my life, I try to live very simply, and I think of this mantra often during this time of year. This article from one of my favorite blogs online describes keeping the holidays simple and focusing on what really matters. December does not have to be a time of stress, weight gain, unhealthy habits or unnecessary gifts. Focus on what matters to you, whether it’s feeling great eating nutritious foods, keeping up with your workouts, or spending time with your family and friends…find a balance and do not let the things about the holidays that don’t matter to you get ahold.

Do you have any tips to staying healthy during this time of year?? I’d love to hear them, let me know in the comments! As always, thanks for reading!