Updated: Dec 23, 2020
With the holidays in full swing and the new year peeking around the corner, it’s tough to stay on track with healthy habits. From cramming in last minute Christmas shopping to navigating the packed grocery store for ingredients you purchase once a year, there are many demands needing more attention than taking care of your health.
We asked our expert Registered Dietitians & Fitness Trainers for a few pieces of advice to keep you happy AND healthy during this holiday season. Check out these 8 healthy holiday tips from our experts:
Take advantage of the freezer, says Registered Dietitian Medina. We receive lots of yummy gifts from friends, but we certainly don't need to consume all of them within a couple of days of receiving them. Leaving them on the counter is the fastest way to make sure they are gobbled up quickly! Putting them in the freezer allows us to pull them out weeks later and enjoy them. It is amazing how quickly we forget that they are in the freezer!
If you have a food allergy or follow a FODMAP diet, bring a side dish to the holiday meal, says Registered Dietitian & Fitness Trainer Andrea. This will help patients feel comfortable eating with family and friends, without feeling pressured to eat foods that cause them unpleasant symptoms. If this is you, have a list of foods that cause symptoms and give them to the host to make sure they know and can label the food with potential allergens.
Keep moving indoors. Three to four times a week, do three sets of squats, planks, calf raises and push ups (can be on your knees or against a stable surface) as many repetitions as you can, says Fitness Trainer Julie. Exercise doesn’t have to be fancy, especially during this crazy time of year! If you’d like a personalized fitness plan to meet your needs, Julie offers both virtual and in-person services, click here to learn more: idahonutrition.com/fitnesstraining
Go green! Suggests Registered Dietitian Deena. With all the rich foods and sweet treats that fill the holiday table, balance your plate with beautiful salad greens including red leaf lettuces, spinach, arugula, and kale, and a variety of colorful fruits and veggies...the possibilities are endless. Try a kale salad with apples and toasted almonds, roasted brussels sprouts, or a vibrant orange and arugula salad!
Drink water and eat breakfast every day. Medina recommends you start your day by drinking at least 8-10 oz of water upon waking, and to also remember to eat a good breakfast. These tips will help to diminish your cravings for sweets. The fuller you feel, the less tempted you are to overindulge on holiday treats.
Make a plan of action, says Andrea. Tell yourself to fill ¼ of your plate with lean protein, 1/2 the plate with non-starchy vegetables, and the last ¼ of the plate pick a carbohydrate such as one of your other favorite holiday foods like mashed potatoes or stuffing. Stick to one plate of food, then go take a walk with the family or play a game with the kids!
Keep a food journal for one week suggests Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Educator Mimi. By keeping a detailed food record for one week, it’s guaranteed to help you lose at least one pound or more. This foolproof idea is perfect for after the holidays and you're ready to kickstart your wellness goals!
Make healthy ingredient swaps in your favorite holiday recipes recommends Registered Dietitian Callie. Add some whole wheat flour to your gingerbread cookies, mash up cauliflower instead of potatoes, or simply reduce the sugar amount in your peppermint bark recipe. Check out our foolproof healthy baking swaps guide for more detailed info: idahonutrition.com/blog
Remember, give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays! Have a holiday cookie after dinner, or treat yourself to a peppermint mocha when having coffee with a friend. The best way to keep yourself healthy and happy is to maintain a healthy eating and fitness routine, along with scheduling in some time for enjoyment. Happy Holidays from us at Idaho Nutrition!