It is the time of year where new memories are created around lasting holiday traditions. Thankfully, holiday traditions and memories can be just as healthy as they are joyful.
Fighting the Urge to Skip Meals
Skipping meals to “save” up for a large meal or because a large dessert is coming later may seem like strategic preparation, but this is actually worse than continuing with a regular routine. Blood sugar maintenance depends on a normal eating schedule. Someone who has skipped breakfast or another meal they normally eat may experience quick onset of shakiness and/or irritability, a sign that blood sugar is dipping extremely low. After this type of episode, there is a greater chance of overeating at the next meal rather than having a normal-sized portion.
Counting the Colors on the Plate, Not Necessarily the Calories
An unsurprising healthy eating goal is for fruits and vegetables to make up at least half of the plate at each meal. Meeting that goal means making sure many colors of fruits and vegetables are represented on that plate. This is the perfect time of year to try new things and make festive, colorful dishes. Incorporating vegetables or fruits in dishes will also add fiber to the meal to promote feeling fuller sooner, which may suppress mindless munching throughout the day. Plus, a variety of vibrant colors is always something to smile about.
Mealtime Means Quality Time
Distracted, mindless eating is often associated with over-eating. Even just ten minutes of dedicated mindful eating, being present with a meal, can help someone visualize and understand the amount of food that’s being eaten. This means putting the phone away and turning off the television, too!
Hydration is Key
Many people, especially during the holidays, cook all morning without having anything to drink, only to end up feeling cranky and fatigued. Cue a water break! Staying hydrated keeps up the metabolism, so it is important to be mindful about drinking water to stay hydrated this holiday season. Of course, with the holidays also comes liberal pours of wine, fancy cocktails, and more as standard with meals. This is where added sugar can also be very “sneaky” and add up quickly. Twelve ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, and one ounce of liquor equals one drink. Match an alcohol beverage with a glass of water both before and after to maintain hydration.
Following any exercise plan is hard, but it is all about mindset, especially around the holidays. Setting overly ambitious goals isn’t necessary, but remembering that a 30 minute walk is only two percent of the day is important. Plus, it’s something the whole family can enjoy. Fresh air and movement do the body good!
At the end of the day, it is fulfilling to show gratitude for health and to enjoy all the good things in life. Enjoy a healthy holiday.