How to keep your health in check over the holidays
The holidays are quicky approaching and things always seem to go a little haywire around this time of year. While the holidays can be a fun time with family and friends, they don’t always support healthy eating habits. It is common to get a little lax when it comes to healthy routines around the holidays and let’s face it – we all deserve to treat ourselves every now and again. Check out some tips below that help support your healthy habits without crushing your holiday fun.
Get some water in. Staying hydrated is one of the most important pillars to health. Ensuring you are hitting your water intake goals helps your digestion function optimally while supporting detoxification of the overall body. Instead of reaching for sugary drinks, alcohol or pop – try replacing it with water. Your body will thank you.
Avoid binge eating. Our schedules and regular routine seem to go out the window when it comes to the holiday season. This often causes us to eat at irregular times, skip meals or even limit our meals in preparation for the “big holiday dinner”. Starving all day and then overindulging at one main meal isn’t great for our energy production or digestive system. Make sure you are still consuming foods within your regular eating pattern. This helps keep your body properly fuelled throughout the day and prevents binge eating at one meal.
Home made over store bought. Now I know that it is not always possible to make everything from scratch with everyone’s wild schedules during the holidays, but making your favourite dishes yourself is far superior then consuming something overly processed. Try to skip the processed foods that are jam packed with extra additives, preservatives, salt and sugar when you can.
Mind your alcohol. Alcohol consumption is known to increase during the holiday season for various reasons. Many alcoholic beverages contain a ton of sugar, additives, and add zero nutritional benefit to your diet. Be mindful of you consumption during this time.
Sugar intake. ‘Tis the season for cookies, chocolate, treats and candy. Someone always seems to be offering you a little dose of sugar wherever you turn. While everybody deserves a little treat during the holidays, be mindful of your sugar intake during this time. Overindulging in high sugar foods will cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash soon after. While your blood sugar is on this roller coaster ride, your energy and mood will go right along with it. Did someone say sugar headache?! Avoid this by limiting your sugar intake.
Keep your protein in check. The holidays always seem to be sugar and carbohydrate heavy. As said in the previous tip above, this causes our blood sugar to spike and crash. One way to smooth the edges of that roller coaster is to ensure you are getting an adequate amount of protein throughout the day. Try getting protein in at every meal as well as pairing your snacks with a protein source. For example, apples and peanut butter, veggies and hummus, nuts and seeds with some fruit. This will help keep your energy, mood and blood sugar steady all day.
Load up on veggies. Don’t forget to show some love to your veggies this holiday season. There are tons of great veggie recipes for your holiday meals. Aim to have half your plate veggies, ideally with some dark leafy greens mixed in there.
Get moving. Going for a walk after a meal has many great health benefits. First off, we are usually out of our normal exercising routine during the holidays so going for a walk gives our body some much needed exercise. It also helps to aid in digestion, which we may need some extra support in over the holidays. Going for a walk may also provide some much-needed quiet time after visiting with a group of people. Overall, going for a walk is never a bad idea.
Don’t beat yourself up. At the end of the day, a couple days off of your normal health routine is not going to make or break your overall health. The majority always rules – if you are “on track” the majority of the time, a couple days “off track” is not going to derail you for forever. Give yourself some grace and enjoy this holidays season. Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday!
Dr. Denise Patterson, ND
Note: This blog entry is for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute practice of naturopathic medicine or other professional healthcare services including the giving of medical advice. No doctor patient relationship is formed. Use of this material is at user’s own risk. Readers should not disregard or delay obtaining medical advice for any medical conditions they may have and should seek assistance from a trusted medical care professional for any condition. This blog entry does not speak on behalf of naturopathic medicine and does not represent the profession as a whole.