Last year I overdid it on the holiday indulgences, and I know I wasn’t alone. I rang in the new year feeling sluggish and unwell, and resolved to be more balanced the following year. This year, we have another chance to fine-tune this season with some healthy adjustments. Here’s my top 6 tips for staying healthier over the holidays.
1. Drink lots of water
- The more salt and alcohol and rich foods you consume, the more water you need. Water also helps flush all those holiday toxins from your body!
2. Take a walk with family
- Holidays are about spending time with your family. If you can convince them to put down the box of Turtles, go for a nice crisp walk outdoors. If it’s way too cold for that, try walking inside the mall. Braving the crazy malls during holiday season sound terrifying? Don Santa hats and just watch how many people smile at you.
3. Eat less sugar
- Sugary sweet things are amazing with the first bite, and even better with the second. The problem is that too much sugar gives us a rush of energy and then we crash – leaving us fatigued, irritable, and craving more sugar. Next thing you know, you’re on your third gingerbread-man of the day, and you’re not even sure why. You don’t have to avoid the sweet stuff completely (that’s no fun!) but don’t let sugar boss you around either. Just have small amounts of your favourite treats and really, really savour them.
4. Get Your Portion Ratios Right
- An ideal plate of food has a little bit of protein and fat, a moderate amount of carbs, and a ton of fruits and veggies. What does this actually look like?
Fat (butter, nuts, hollandaise sauce, oil-based dressings):
The size of your thumb (or less)
Protein (fish, turkey, meat, eggs):
The size of your fist
Carbs (stuffing, bread, sweet potatoes, yams, mashed potatoes, turnips):
The size of your hand
Vegetables and Fruits (all veg & salads except for the high-carb veggies listed above):
The size of both of your hands side-by-side
5. Avoid Overeating
- Overeating is usually caused by eating too fast. Our stomach signals our brain to tell us when we are full, but if we shovel food in too quickly, we get the signal too late! No one wants to be uncomfortably full, even if Mom’s home cooked turkey dinner is that good. Give your body time to tell you when it’s full by putting your fork down on your plate during each bite. Take a bite, put the fork down, chew your food thoroughly, swallow, and then pick the fork back up again. Repeat. Make conversation with your family or friends between bites. The more you talk, the slower you eat. Many cultures, such as the French, traditionally eat in this social & leisurely manner and it shows in their health.
6. Drink Smart
- Holiday parties are fun, but the hangover is not. Here’s how to prevent it:
· Have a glass of water between every alcoholic beverage – this keeps you from getting dehydrated, one of the main causes of hangovers.
· Don’t mix and match: pick your poison, and try to stick with it all night. (Beer followed by more beer, not followed by rum and coke.)
· When drinking hard alcohol, avoid mixing it with sugary soda or cocktail mixes. Instead, try mixing with soda water and a splash of lemon, lime, or fruit juice. TIP: Skip the tonic water and have soda water instead: they taste pretty similar except tonic water has just as much sugar in it as a can of coke!
Wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy Holidays!