Five Healthy Tips to Take the Hassle Out of the Holidays
In case you haven’t realized it by the decorations, deals, and excited children, the holidays are in full swing! There is a good chance you are not only excited, but possibly sleeping less, eating more, and forgoing your recommended 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. To help you maintain your sanity this holiday season, my five tips put happiness and health back into the holidays:
1. Make Smart Eating Choices (Most of the Time)
It would be nuts to think you have to eat perfectly throughout the holidays. But, instead of diving head first into all the glorious offerings of the season, consider finding a balance between indulgence and smart-eating choices. I recommend that you:
Energize! To keep up energy levels, I blend an Energizer in the a.m. with equal parts greens and fruit and some pea or rice protein. Because your body feels nourished and you get healthy sugar, Energizers also help you curb sugar cravings during the day. Find some of my favorite Energizer recipes on www.RecipeRedoBlog.com.
Keep healthy snacks on hand. If it comes in a handy bag, it most likely is an over-processed, sugar-loaded, genetically-modified bunch of gunk! Instead try sunflower seed butter, fresh fruits and vegetables, turkey jerky, roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, gluten-free crackers, and hummus.
Make healthy swaps for holiday recipes:
- Sweet Holiday Drinks -There are great non-diary choices; I love coconut milk eggnog with a couple shots of decaf espresso.
- Oil – In baked goods, substitute some of the oil with fresh pureed apple. Instead of one cup oil, do ½ cup oil and ½ cup pureed apple.
- Sugar – Try a mix of agave syrup and stevia. For less calories, you can also substitute brown sugar with coconut crystals (sap) and a little agave syrup.
2. Fa, La, La… Fitness!
Hitting the road? Take along hand weights, stretchy bands, a stability ball, and a yoga mat. Plan rest stops or overnight stays at spots that offer hiking and walking. At home, keep the yoga mat near where you are wrapping presents and reward yourself with a stretch after wrapping each gift. Do knee bends while cooking. Use shopping as an excuse to get in some cardio and park your car far away in the lot.
3. Reduce Family Drama by Planning Ahead
One source of holiday tension is the obligatory time spent with relatives. Do some work, both inner and outer, before you are around relatives to prevent any blow-ups. If Granny brings her horrible fruit cake and expects everyone to eat it, maybe you suck it up and eat it and view this as your gift to her. There are ways to diffuse the drama before it happens.
4. Cut Yourself Some Slack
While we are trying to be our best for others, our self-critical voice often goes into high drive. Our inner self is waiting to tell us we shouldn’t have drank, eaten, or spent so much. Give yourself a break! We all get swept up in the festivities and, if we head into things knowing we are not going to be perfect, it’s easier to deal. Try to focus on what you are doing right and honor those moments first.
5. Go To Sleep Already!
Visions of sugar plums dancing in your head? Not so much! It’s more like waking up with visions of “To Do” lists sashaying. If more than a few nights pass with bouts of frenetic wakefulness, consider taking a natural sleep supplement like melatonin. I also find that cooler temperatures and listening to soothing music help me make it through the night. It’s also important during the day to take time out and chill. I set a timer on my phone to go off twice during the day with a reminder to relax. I use this time to stretch, focus on my breathing and sit quietly.