Healthy for the Holidays

25 Nov

The holiday season is my favorite time of year. Fireplaces, slippers, baking, family gatherings, and celebrations with friends.

But with all of the snuggling and celebrating, health and fitness tend to take a backseat. Next thing we know, the holidays are over- and fond memories aren’t the only thing we’ve gained.


Here’s a few tips on how to make your holiday season a little bit healthier.

  • Eat before you go. Never go to a holiday party with an empty stomach. If your stomach is growling, you will be tempted to devour everything in site. Have a well-balanced snack such as apples and peanut butter, greek yogurt, or whole grain crackers with light spreadable cheese. The same goes for breakfast. Even if you have a big feast planned later in the day, stick to a healthy eating routine for the rest of your meals.
  • Share something healthy. If you’re asked to bring a dish or if you’re hosting, contribute some healthy fare. Vegetable side dishes, salads, and fruit can all be festive and delicious. At most holiday gatherings high-calorie foods are plentiful, so there’s plenty of room for something light and healthy.
  • Survey the buffet. When faced with a buffet of food, survey the selection first and then make your decisions. If we simply grab a plate and start at the beginning, we will almost always over-serve ourselves. Maybe the cheesy casserole looks good– until you spot the buttery potatoes at the other end. Choose your favorites and do without the not-so-tempting items.
  • Plan your indulgences. Look at your holiday calendar and recognize the events that you know you will indulge. Plan for these indulgences by maintaining a balanced, healthy diet and exercise routine for the week before the event. And by all means, enjoy your indulgences and don’t beat yourself up about it the next day! By now you all know that I am a huge fan of savoring and enjoying food!
  • Distract yourself. Believe me, I am a lover of food, BUT it doesn’t have to be the focus of your holiday season. Don’t sit right next to the buffet, don’t linger over the hors d’oeuvres. DO participate in fun holiday games and DO enjoy great conversations with friends and family.
  • Resist food pushers. The holidays are full of food pushers- those people tempting you with second helpings and waving rich desserts in front of your face, offering to serve you a heaping slice. IT IS OKAY TO POLITELY SAY NO. There’s nothing wrong with a nice “No thank you. That looks delicious, but I’m stuffed.” Those who care about you will not be offended.
  • Water is your friend. Drink it before and during meals. Drink it in between cocktails. Your body (and your hangover) will thank you.
  • Watch out for “tastes”. Whether it’s taste tests in the kitchen, a sample of the latest frozen cheesecake at the grocery store, or a handful of mixed nuts in the break room, these little tastes can add up to hundreds of extra calories. At this time of year, it is extra important to be conscious of what you put in your mouth.
  • Prepare for leftovers. Getting stuck with mounds of leftovers is a dieter’s worst nightmare. If you are hosting and don’t want half a leftover pumpkin pie calling your name from the fridge, be prepared. Buy tupperware containers, cling wrap, etc. to make it easy for guests to take home leftovers.
  • Squeeze in as much exercise as you can. Everyone is extra busy this time of year which makes it extra hard to find time for exercise. But it’s also an extra important part of staying healthy! So try to squeeze it in whenever you can. Get together with friends for a local Turkey Trot or Jingle Bell Run. Round up the family for a walk after dinner. Organize a holiday walk to look at neighborhood Christmas lights. Park at the back of the parking lot when doing your Christmas shopping. Make it a priority to give yourself 30 minutes a day to sweat. Bonus: exercise releases happy hormones that help relieve stress!

**Something to consider from Nourish: Your Thanksgiving Meal in Calories

Remember to enjoy this special time of year, treat yourself right, and ring in the New Year feeling fabulous about yourself!

I am so thankful for YOU, the readers of Running on Sunshine!

Stay tuned for my holiday adventures!

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for reading (:


3 Responses to “Healthy for the Holidays”

  1. Mom November 25, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    Loved hanging with you today…..and thanks for the friendly reminders about being a food pusher. 🙂

  2. Abbey November 26, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Hey Kayli,
    I think this is great. I love it and find it very helpful keep up the good work!!!!!! You will make a great RD !!!!


  3. emily November 28, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Great tips! The holidays don’t have to be scary for those of us with a plan to keep in shape. Hope you had a great Tgiving!

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