The holidays are just around the corner, which means delicious food will be abundant for many of us. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some holiday treats, but balance is key. When you overdo it, you’re less likely to feel up to your normal energy levels, which can lead to you feeling fatigued, frustrated, and stagnant. Here, we’ll take a look at what you can do to achieve the ever-elusive concept of balance during the holidays.
Keep Your Activity Levels Up
Before we dive in, let’s be clear–we are not recommending that you try to work off every calorie or increase your current level of exercise in order to “make up” for the food you enjoy during the holiday season. If you generally stick to your standard nutrition and exercise plan while adding in some off-plan holiday treats, you’ll likely find that your energy and overall well-being aren’t negatively affected.
Stick to the normal plan when it comes to movement, whether that means heading out for a walk after dinner or hitting up your favorite spin class in the mornings. Keep an eye out for changes in your normal routine that could throw you off–for example, if you’re off of work and you normally hit the gym before you clock in, do your best to still get your workout in at the same time, despite the rest of your day looking a bit different than normal.
The holidays can also be a great chance to get the rest of your family in on how great healthy movement can feel. Save your daily walk for after dinner, and invite your family to join you while you check out the holiday lights in your neighborhood together.
Prioritize Protein and Veggies
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with digging into the carby goodness of the holiday months! That being said, make sure you’ve got plenty of protein and veggies on your plate as well. Eat normally for your standard meals, and do your best to choose foods that are nutrient-dense whenever you can. When you increase lean protein, you’re helping your body stay fuller for longer. By adding veggies to your plate, you’re giving your body the fiber it needs to move food through your system and keep you feeling great.
Think about what you can add to your holiday meals instead of what you “need” to take away. If you’re digging into takeout for a family gathering, add a side salad to help you enjoy some nutrient-dense foods while enjoying the rest of the deliciousness on your plate.
Enjoy The Good Stuff
No matter what type of food you’re enjoying, be sure to slow down, take your time, and fully savor each moment. Think about what foods you really want to indulge in and what foods you can enjoy some other time. For example, if you want to dig into your grandma’s once-a-year homemade pierogi, by all means, do it! Foods that have sentimental value can be far more fulfilling than grabbing handful after handful of treats from a random gift basket at the office.
Telling yourself, “If I want it, I’ll have it tomorrow,” can be a great reminder when you feel surrounded by foods that you want–even though they aren’t anything special. This can help remind your brain that you don’t need to indulge in foods that don’t bring much to you nutritionally just because they exist in your space.
Load Up On H2O
When you’ve got eggnog and party punch on the brain, it can be easy to forget about your other liquid bestie–water. Drinking plenty of plain water is key to helping you stay strong, healthy, and on track during the holidays.
You might find that it’s helpful to set a few alarms on your phone so that you remember to drink water even when busy holiday weeks take over. Drinking a glass of water when you wake up, with each meal, and after dinner can help you take big strides toward meeting your hydration goal.
Remember, holidays are meant to be enjoyed–and you can do it without backtracking on your goals. Take it one step at a time, enjoy the foods you love, and remember–holidays are about family, tradition, and living in the moment.