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8 Ways to Keep a Healthy Holiday Spirit

December 10, 2010

If you're like many people, you may find that the stress of the holiday season sets up the perfect storm to feel under the weather and out of energy. And it's no wonder...with hectic schedules and the abundance of holiday treats, the season can wreak havoc on our bodies!

Most of us know what we should be doing to maintain good health: eat more vegetables, stay hydrated, exercise, reduce processed foods, get plenty of rest, etc. -- but actually following through with these intentions is the hard part. Make a commitment to maintain your wellness so that you can truly enjoy the abundance of the season!

 In the meantime, here are some tips to make the season even brighter:    

1. Use healthier ingredients in your favorite holiday dishes (see some recipe ideas below!). For baked goods, nix the refined white sugar and use a wholesome substitute like agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or honey. 

2. Avoid showing up to holiday parties on an empty stomach; eating a healthy, balanced meal beforehand will help you avoid over-indulging. Trying to save your appetite by not eating for long periods beforehand will do more damage in the long run. 

3. Don't stay cooped up in the house - make the most of chillier weather and head outdoors for some traditional winter fun like sledding, ice skating or skiing. Don't forget family favorites like building a snowman, a walking tour of holiday lights or dancing to holiday tunes in your living room! Some physical activity will help promote wellness during this time.

4. Indulge mindfully. If your holiday isn't a celebration without a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, don't deprive yourself. Remember, in moderation, the occasional indulgence is OK! Make sure you pick your favorites, eat slowly and savor every bite.

5. Balance out increased holiday treat consumption by including more veggies in your other meals. Special holiday foods are often more processed and contain more sugar, which can throw off your blood sugar and mood.

6. Get your rest! Drastically altering your regular sleep patterns by staying up too late and sleeping til noon can be harmful to your immune system, hormone balance and mood regulation. Make it a priority to get enough rest so you can enjoy all of the abundance during this time.

7. Keep your goals realistic. During this hectic time, make sure you are realistic about all that you can accomplish—in terms of both time and money. Make sure to check-in with yourself and don’t be afraid to turn down certain activities or commitments like baking those extra pies or hosting more people than you can handle if they will result in increased anxiety and stress.

8. Don't lose sight of the real meaning of the holiday season. As you celebrate with close family and friends, reflect on all the things that make your life worth celebrating. Check out this article on gratitude written by Integrative Nutrition founder Joshua Rosenthal to get started!

    How do you stay balanced during the season? Do you have special tips that you’d like to share?

    Check out some of our favorite holiday recipes:

    ~ Honey-Macadamia Halibut

    ~ Baked Caraway Sweet Potato with Rosemary

    ~ Swiss Chard and Tofu

    ~ Almond Cherry Chocolate Pudding

     

    To a healthy holiday season!