Fasten your seatbelts and make sure your seat is in the upright position – we are on the runway for the holiday season! Cozy get-togethers, tasty dinners, and delicious sweets and treats await us! For some, the question is always: how can I stay healthy and still enjoy my holidays? Too many times we can struggle with this balance, finding ourselves dehydrated, bloated, and unhealthy come January, swearing “never again.” Or – just as unfortunately – stressing ourselves out so much about not affecting our health that we don’t actually spend any time enjoying our holidays. No more! Here are 5 practical, easy tips to enjoy a holiday season that won’t leave you ragged coming in to the new year.
Our natural tendency is to take a little bit of everything at any given holiday event. Often, though, we don’t even truly love all of these treats. Skim the spread and honestly ask yourself which items are sure to delight you. Which one would you be sad to leave without? Dish up and enjoy! If there are others that aren’t your favorites, don’t take them by default. Make sure to prioritize what you really love!
2. Set Yourself up for Success
It’s tough to enjoy a holiday when you aren’t feeling well, and we all know that certain foods (in certain amounts) affect us in uncomfortable ways. If a gathering is potluck-style, bring a food that you know leaves you feeling great. Then you know there will be at least one dish that won’t leave you feeling less than your best. If you don’t have the option to bring something, snack on some feel-good foods before you head out.
3. Take Your Time
Don’t rush the experience – eating holiday food is a seasonal delight to be savored. Make a plate, have a seat, and visit with a loved one as you eat. Take time to enjoy each bite and chew well (this helps with digestion as well as enjoyment)! After finishing your plate, give yourself 10-15 minutes before you go back for seconds. Our satiety signals sometimes take a bit to kick in. Waiting can help prevent painful over-fullness!
4. Hydrate Well
Most of the things that leave us feeling crummy after the holidays have to do with their dehydrating effects – sugar, salt, and alcohol are all culprits for leaving us dried out. That dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, breakouts, digestive issues, and more. You can make big strides to feeling your best by simply making sure to drink plenty of water leading up to, during, and after your holiday celebration.
Do not let worries about your health or weight consume your holidays. Your mental health is a much larger part of your overall wellness than that Christmas cookie. Practice balance, give yourself grace, and enjoy every second with your family, friends and favorite foods.