It's easy for the holiday season to take a toll on your physical and mental health. Delicious treats tempt at every turn, and our already busy calendars become even more crammed with holiday parties, gift-shopping, and visits with relatives. To help you stay healthy amidst the flurry of food and festivities, we asked our savvy Health and Fitness Moms to share their best tips for holiday well being. Here's what they said.
1. Plan Ahead for Parties
“Holidays are a time to celebrate, but it doesn't mean you have to throw your health out the window with the crinkled wrapping paper. One thing that helps is that age-old mantra of 'everything in moderation.' If I know I'm going to a party, I will try to cut back on sweets and salt earlier in the day and up the veggies and fruit. A quick snack of protein, like a stick of string cheese, before venturing out to parties or shopping can also help curb binging.” –Gina Jacobs Thomas of Full of It…
2. Drink Plenty of Water
“Drink plenty of water. It is easy to mistake the feeling of thirst for being hungry. Water will help to fill you up so you won't want to eat that extra slice of cheesecake.” –Maria Fruscello of Is my motivation hiding under all these toys?
3. Don’t Make Excuses
“Don't make excuses: ‘I don't have time during the holidays.’ ‘I am too tired.’ ‘I need to relax during the holidays.’ ‘I'll start again after New Years.’ ‘I'll make up for it.’ Be true to yourself and the healthy lifestyle you are choosing! Sure you can have a piece of pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner, but don't eat more than a slice.” –Kim Hall of spinningitall
4. Try Bite-Size Pieces of Treats
"The holiday season is defined by great food and festivities. We should enjoy it. For me I find that it is fun to 'try' things. Rather than engulfing a serving of high-calorie dessert I do bite-size pieces. I will get a dessert plate and put a tablespoon of three or four different holiday goodies on it. I always eat the healthy stuff first so I don't crave something sweet and over indulge." –Anita Harless of Running Against the OdDs
5. Substitute Ingredients
“Do a festive flip with your food! Switch the bad out and substitute the good into all the things you love! Use 1/3-less fat cream cheese instead of the full-fat version. Trade a cup of whole-grain flour for the bleached white kind. Use a little grape seed oil to grease your pans instead of butter. Chop some cancer-fighting kale into that salad! Look for ways to sneak stored sunshine and nutrition into all your holiday meals, and your families' health will thank you!” –Bethany Learn of Fit2Be Mama
6. Manage Stress with Me Time
“I demand some ‘ME’ time. It isn't always easy to carve out the time, but even 10 minutes makes a huge difference. That time can be spent doing just anything from working out to sitting and reading a book. For me, I spend my me time doing yoga or I meet up with my girlfriend for coffee very early in the morning while our families are still sleeping. Sometimes we are full of conversation and other times we quietly sit and sip our morning java. For me it is a great way to regroup before I start the day." –Carly of Chubby Chicks Run Too
7. Take Half Portions
“Take a half portion. When something is too tempting to pass up, halve what you would normally take. This usually satisfies your craving.” –Amy Rhoads of Push Play Fitness
8. Keep Expectations Realistic
“My expectations are realistic. I no longer cram my personal or family calendar with holiday activities. We make time for those events and outings that are truly special and meaningful. That way, I enjoy the season and savor the moments watching my children revel in the holiday magic. If we miss something, I don’t fret.” –Kate Cardon Parish of kateschannel
9. Don’t Leave Extra Treats Lying Around
“I DO NOT under any circumstances keep the treats IN MY HOUSE! This is key. If I am going to a party and am bringing treats with me I prepare them, at max, the day before to make sure I don't snack on them in the days leading up to the event. I leave leftovers with the host. And what happens when I'm the hostess? Brace yourself... I throw it out! Seriously. If I am going to be tempted to finish off a plate of deliciousness (aka brownies, etc.) ... I mean, not that I would, um, EVER do that... I just throw it in the trash. Stuffing it in my face for no apparent reason is much like throwing it in the garbage except that it sticks to my butt and thighs... Don't feel bad about doing this. If you just CAN'T bring yourself to throw it away, package it up and either take it to work or donate it to a food bank.” –Laura of Wife, Mother, Athlete
10. Sign up for a Race
“You can find a fun local race to do just about ever month of the holiday season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's. Sign up early to take advantage of cheaper race prices, and put it on the calendar before it gets pushed out by other holiday busyness. You'll be amazed how much more you can enjoy that Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas turkey with a race under your belt! Don't forget to invite your friends and family to come train and race with you, or just cheer you on!” –Amy Nelson of Run Mom Run
Finally, remember to give yourself a break about sticking to a 100% healthy routine. As MCM Mama shares, “I cut myself some slack. That doesn't mean I go crazy not exercising and eating like crazy, but I don't stress when I do. Somehow, being able to do what I want helps me make healthier choices.”
Read all the answers from our savvy Health and Fitness Moms here.
Image Source: flossyflotsam via Flickr/Creative Commons