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Staying Healthy During the Holiday Season

by jenny sansouci on December 7, 2010

The month of December often brings holiday parties, cookie baking, cocktails, lots of sugary treats and general indulgence. Of course it’s great to indulge once in awhile and enjoy yourself, but many people wake up on January 1st feeling the need to go on a crash diet or extreme exercise plan to make up for the massive overindulgence of the season. Luckily, it’s totally possible to have fun and indulge a little this holiday season without feeling like your healthy habits went out the window!

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the holidays while feeling GREAT too:

1. Bring healthy food to holiday parties. Worried that you’ll get to the holiday party and you’ll have no healthy options? Feel like you have no choice but to eat cookies or cheese cubes? Take control! Bring a couple of appetizers or a dessert that you feel comfortable eating. That way you know you’ll have a couple of things to snack on, guilt-free, and that’ll keep you from overdoing it on the party snacks. Examples of things I like to bring to parties are homemade hummus with multi-grain chips or veggies, and for dessert I love making Alicia Silverstone’s Crispy Almond Butter Treats from The Kind Diet.

2. Eat before the party. What!? Isn’t the point of going to a holiday party or dinner to enjoy all of the good food? Well, of course it is – but that doesn’t mean you have to show up famished and devour everything. Going to a party hungry usually leads to overdoing it. Try eating a small, healthy meal or snack before the party so you can make smart decisions when you arrive. That way you can taste the party foods, but you don’t have to fill yourself up on them.

3. Eat what you love. If you know you can’t resist your friend’s famous chocolate cheesecake, don’t fill yourself up on other high-calorie party foods. Make a point to enjoy the cheesecake and choose healthier options for the rest of the party. Spend your “party calories” wisely!

4. Get a few minutes of extra exercise in. If you know you’ll be indulging in more calories than you usually consume, tack on an extra 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise. Extra calories don’t have to equal weight gain if you balance it out with extra movement.

5.  Exercise early in the day. Make a point to wake up a little earlier and exercise first thing in the morning, before any of the holiday festivities begin. It’s all too easy to cancel a workout if you let too much time go by and get caught up with last-minute party plans or houseguests.

6. Go easy on the alcohol. Offer to be the designated driver for your family and friends, and stay sober! You can still enjoy yourself at the party while making sure all of your loved ones are safe (plus, you’ll feel great in the morning)!

If you do drink, balance each alcoholic beverage with a water or seltzer, so you’re pacing yourself throughout the evening. Too much alcohol can lead to calorie overload and poor decision-making when it comes to food. If you have a tendency to eat late at night after drinking alcohol, make sure you have a number of healthy but yummy snacks available to you.  Choose wine instead of high-calorie sugary punch or eggnog cocktails.

7. Eat & drink lots of GREENS, even on days you’ll be indulging in holiday treats! Make a point to start your day with a green smoothie, make a green salad or side of greens with dinner, or order some extra greens at a restaurant. The powerful nutrition in the greens will help balance out any treat-indulging you may do!

Let me know if you have any other tried-and-true methods for staying healthy and feeling great during the season of indulgence!

Have a happy and HEALTHY Holiday Season!!


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

missy December 7, 2010 at 2:12 pm

great tips – thank you. something i do is make sure to start the day with a healthy breakfast to set the tone for the day so i’m less likely to want to eat crap later!


ange December 24, 2010 at 6:51 pm

love this article! i just got a nice little workout in before my holiday festivities. you know what i like to eat as a healthy meal and is also good for parties? a nice big yummy salad.


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