10 Hacks for the Healthiest Holiday Season Ever

There's a reason that people loooove the holidays. It's a time to kick back - to celebrate the things that sometimes get overlooked in the day-to-day humdrum of schedules and meetings and soccer practices. It's a time that we get to spend a ridiculous amount of effort creating a perfect moment for the people we love, and that is magical to me. However, it's also a season of plentiful tidings that seem to go right to your hips. If you want to be dedicated to health this holiday, here are few tips that cut back on the bad-for-you stuff while not cutting back on the good times. 

1. Slip in some whole wheat.
Image via Pinch My Salt on Flickr

Wherever you use flour, you can up the ante and make it an opportunity for a healthy switch-up. And during the holidays, it sometimes feels like there's a overload of floury sugary goods. If you're afraid that the flavor  of whole wheat flour will be too nutty, try mixing the whole wheat flour with whatever flour you normally bake with in a half and half mixture, or whatever ratio you're comfortable with.

2.Make sure the breaks don't become habits.

 Image via FeministJulie via Flickr

The hardest part of creating healthy habits are sometimes those "why not once" moments that happen just a little too often, until the good part of the habit simply falls apart. The best way to combat this, instead, is to realize the circumstances in which you usually have the "why not once" moment. Is it because they have your favorite dessert that you only get to eat once a year? Or is it because it is a busy holiday season and you don't have time to prepare a healthy option? Often analyzing the moments allows you to understand and separate what is allowing yourself to live a little versus coming up short of your own capabilities.

3. Don't wear your "over-eating" clothes.
Image via Kelly Hogaboom on Flickr

As tempting as it might be to just slip into some sweats and let the day go where it may, if you really want to be serious about keeping your healthy eating habits during the holidays, where tight-fitting clothes to the holiday party. If you eat too much, you'll be sure to know it.

4.Remind yourself your goals - and think realistically about what you need to do to make them happen.
Image via a4gpa via Flickr

Don't expect yourself to not fall off the healthy bandwagon around this time of year - instead - plan a wagon fall.  Set goals that you can accomplish without stressing yourself to the max. But then, (and here's the tricky part)you have to actually commit to them and do them.  If you find yourself needing a little help around the holidays - it is a common time for people to feel sluggish - don't feel like using a metabolism-boosting supplement is cheating. It can also help you feel less frustrated if you are experiencing a plateau in your health goals by givin' you just a little push. Look for ones with ingredients you can pronounce - Hydroxycut uses lady's mantle and mint, for instance.

5. Don't forget calories that you are drinking.
Image via Framboise on Flickr

That pumpkin spice latte does not even have pumpkins in it, so please don't count it as a veggie for the day. One of those puppies from Starbucks packs a nice 350 calories and 50g of sugar. Same business for hot chocolate or egg nog. Those guys are secret agents of the super fattening.

6. Don't let yourself get sleep deprived.
Image via mk30 on Flickr

Getting consistent sleep will mean you have consistent energy, and more consistent motivation to get that daily workout in when you should. The holidays are a lot of work as well as that load of fun - and that can get insanely exhausting. And, your metabolism is sure to take a hit along with the rest of your body if you aren't giving it the rest it needs.

7.  Create a new outdoor tradition.
Instead of having the tradition center around the tv or the food, make the active choice to create a new tradition for the family that brings everyone instead around an activity. For example, if your family comes together around football, why not organize a family game after the holiday game ends? If your family is into cookies, create a scavenger hunt around the house to find them!
Image via Dayna Bateman on Flickr

8. Stock the freezer with healthy meal.
The holidays can be incredibly stressful, when you add on the expectation to do all of these extra tasks and social obligations. That sometimes leaves you neglecting the normal task. If you find yourself rushing during the dinner hour and are wont to throw in whatever frozen option you can find, pre-make a few healthy meals during a free day and stick them in the freezer for your hour of need. Plus, the home-cooked option will taste so much better than any store-bought frozen meal or frozen pizza.
Via Sarah Braun on Flickr

9. Watch out for those appetizers.
They'll getcha! On average, the heavier (often most delicious) appetizers can come in at around 60 calories per bite - yeah, that's terrible and correct. So count bites, and opt for the healthier goods on the table. Or, be the one who brings the healthier options if you aren't sure they will be there.
Image via Debbie R on Flickr

10. Be Proud of Yourself!
Avoiding temptation is hard. Even in these first steps, just thinking about wanting to stay healthy this holiday, you're taking active steps to put yourself in the mindset.
Have an awesome holiday season filled with laughter, warmth, and family!
Image via Howard Chalkley on Flickr

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Elizabeth Hitchcock said...

I love making freezer meals! Not just during the holidays, but all year long.

Janet W. said...

These are all great tips for this time of year! I like the don't wear your "over-eating" clothes tip, LOL, that seems so silly but it's so true!

AdinB said...

Awesome tips and reminders to keep it healthy and fun this holiday season. :)

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