A guide to maintaining health & wellness through the holidays
The holidays are a time of joy, celebration and, of course, food. However, the festivities often bring concerns about unhealthy choices. Senior sports dietitian Natasha Hansen answers questions about how you can stay healthy and active this holiday season.
Q: How can I enjoy holiday meals without feeling guilty about overeating?
A: Instead of labeling your favorite holiday treats as off-limits, savor each bite mindfully. Give yourself permission to indulge because forbidding certain foods may intensify cravings and guilt.
Swap traditional foods
Q: What are healthy alternatives to traditional holiday foods and dishes?
A: Healthy holiday eating can be choosing olive oil instead of cooking oil or opting for pumpkin pie over pecan pie. Enjoy your favorites while making smart choices, like skipping whipped cream and choosing dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate.
Master portion control
Q: How can I control my portions during holiday gatherings?
A: Stick to a routine with three balanced meals and 1-2 snacks daily. Maintain regular eating times to avoid arriving at gatherings feeling overly hungry. By choosing a balanced plate with fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins, you can enjoy the festivities without overindulging.
Q: What are some holiday hydration tips?
A: Drink at least half your body weight in fluid ounces, choosing water over sugary drinks. Keep a water bottle handy and set reminders to ensure you stay well-hydrated throughout the season.
Sneak in physical activity
Q: How can I stay active during the holidays?
A: It’s important to find time for physical activity during the holiday hustle. Bundle up for family walks, opt for stairs instead of the elevator and taking five-minute breaks every hour to keep your body moving.
Q: What are some healthy snacks I can enjoy during holiday parties?
A: Snack wisely at gatherings with nuts, pretzels, popcorn and fruits. Pick healthier options to curb hunger without compromising your nutritional goals.
Q: How can I navigate holiday treats and desserts without overindulging?
A: Instead of grazing treats throughout gatherings, pick a time to have your dessert. Be sure to check out all the options first and then decide on 1-2 items or 2-3 smaller portion options. Thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger, so stay hydrated throughout gatherings!
Embrace mindful eating
Q: What are some strategies for mindful eating during holidays?
A: Listen to your hunger and fullness cues and plan to eat until you’re satisfied. Take your time as you eat, putting down your fork between bites to allow yourself to appreciate the flavors and avoid overeating.
Cultivate a healthy mindset
Q: What can I do to maintain a healthy mindset during the holiday season?
A: Food should be enjoyed, especially when shared with loved ones. The best holiday wellness strategy is to focus on spending time with friends and family. One meal or one day of eating won’t derail your goals or fitness.
The holidays can be a time of celebration without compromising your health. By following these tips, you can stay true to your wellness goals and embrace the season while enjoying your favorite foods.