How to Stay Healthy through the Holidays
Written by Denae
It’s coming! The time of year we love to hate, or hate to love. So many parties and treats. So much stress. So much potential to pack on those pounds, making it more to lose when January’s resolutions come. For some reason, we do it to ourselves again and again… not this year!
Lassens wants to provide you with tips to help you get through your holiday season satisfied, happy and healthy. Now, everyone handles stress differently; so if you miss a workout or gain a few pounds, don’t get down on yourself. We do hope these tips can help you keep confidence as you have to see some of those pesky relatives or munch on Aunt Paula’s not so tasty treats — which you don’t have to eat btw, but we’ll get there later!
A weekly meal plan can be made on your phone, a calendar, or the back of an old envelope, it’s so easy. Spend a few minutes thinking ahead so you don’t get stuck in a drive-thru at 2pm after realizing you haven’t eaten. If you feel like you can’t think of 5-7 meals, pull out Ol’ Faithful (Pinterest) or those dusty cookbooks you got when you moved for college, and test those recipes that you’ve been wanting to try. You can even look in to freezer and/or crockpot meals to help you save time.
Take advantage of the family overload! Rotate meals with the family coming to town. Instead of just one person prepping breakfast, lunch, and dinner, share the responsibility. It keeps from anyone feeling too overwhelmed, resulting in the family deciding to pick up some take-out. Email out a family meal plan so everyone can plan ahead for the time you’re together, then everyone knows the day they might need to do an extra long run; because you just can’t turn down Grandma’s pot pie!
Lastly, we have probably all heard one of the big shopping no-no’s: DON’T SHOP WHILE YOU’RE HUNGRY! Whether it’s shopping for food or spending the day at the mall, you’re more likely to impulsively buy something you’ll regret later if your tummy isn’t satisfied beforehand.
I need a little push to keep myself accountable when I’m eating. One of the best tools I’ve found are phones apps that help track calories, water intake, exercise, and even plan ahead on what I’m going to eat that week. My personal favorite app, that I’ve stuck with for about 2 years now, is MyFitnessPal. The free version can do everything I listed above, and also allows you to create your own recipes from scratch or websites so you can easily add a favorite meal! When I actually look at everything I’ve eaten, it makes me think twice before grabbing a second cookie. But an app isn’t the only thing that helps to choose wisely during the holidays.
With a prepared meal plan, there is always a chance of substituting ingredients for more healthy options. Here’s a list of ideas to help with baking and cooking!
-Swap out dips with full-fat ingredients for ones with yogurt instead
-White meat = less calories
-Don’t spend calories on alcohol if you want to live up dessert time
-Use applesauce instead of sugar, butter, or oil
-Give a mashed cauliflower recipe a try instead of mashed potatoes
-Whipped coconut milk instead of whipped cream
-Try Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise
-Olive oil with herbs and spices can replace flavoring dishes with the usual butter and salt
-Read labels when you shop and keep an eye out for lower sugar, lower sodium, and lower carbohydrates
-Replace as many full-fat ingredients as possible with low-fat or fat-free
-Focus on fresh!
Planning time for exercise when you barely have time to sleep may seem difficult, but it’s very necessary. Our bodies respond best when we keep our routines. But if you can’t make it to the gym, you can still take advantage of the holidays.
When you’re shopping, park further away, skip the escalator and take the stairs, and maybe even take a shopping break to walk around the outside of the building. If you have your family and friends around, why not take a walk together, or even a run for those who are interested. If several people can commit to a daily run, it makes it easier to get out and keep your routine. Don’t limit yourself to long and extensive workouts either. If you’re keeping up descent eating and already hustling as it is, shorter strength training or intervals workouts at home will help burn extra calories and keep your habit going.
We’ve probably all googled how to deal with stress. Hopefully these tips will help you take care of yourself as the holiday hustle rises.
Sleep. Beautiful, beautiful sleep. This is KEY, no matter the season it is, for a healthy self. Lack of sleep increases susceptibility to stress and anxiety, which not only can lead to over-eating because of cravings, but also cause weight gain. If you can’t seem to get a full nights sleep, try to sneak in a nap (make sure to set an alarm so you don’t oversleep!).
Relaxing seems like an easy thing to do, but I notice that my days off go by so fast that it’s 7pm before I’ve had a chance to sit down. Try and squeeze in some board games or a movie while the house is full. Not only will spending time together relax you, but it’ll increase your mood as you’re laughing and enjoying time with the family and friends that you love.
Alone time is healthy, regardless of the time of year. Schedule a massage, take a bath, read, or do any other activity you enjoy doing alone. Disconnect from technology for a little bit while you do these activities so you can really get back in tune to fully enjoy your holidays.
Ask for help from those around you if you’re getting too overwhelmed. Don’t worry about perfection; clutter collects, dinner starts late, grandma gets left at the grocery store (….wait, that happens in everyone’s family right?). Take a deep breath, take a moment to meditate or stretch, and remember that you’re just one person do many things!
Pacing oneself is probably one of the hardest things to do during the holidays. Everything looks, smells, and obviously, tastes amazing! How do you say no? Well, maybe you don’t totally have to. Instead of stuffing yourself to sickness, take a small plate and sample the food. Grab those foods that are high in nutrients and good for you, and also the ones you only get a few times a year. Don’t waste that precious stomach space, plan ahead as you see the dishes making their way to the table.
Take your time while eating and enjoy those around you. Talking will slow your eating, helping your body to register it’s being fed. As you eat, drink water and listen to your body. When you’re satisfied, stop. Eat a few small meals throughout the day/evening rather than overdoing it at one big meal. Your gut will thank you!
We hope these tips can help you have a truly enjoyable holiday season!