The holidays are joyous and fun and full of great food. However, if you are someone who is really into a healthy lifestyle, it can be intimidating to approach this time and year and not know just how you want to spend it. After all, how is it possible to balance delicious Christmas treats and eating healthy? And how do you still prioritize your other lifestyle habits? Take a look at all that you’ll want to know to guide your way to a healthy future.
The importance of eating healthy over the holidays
Before diving into the tips, let’s take a look at the “why” of it all. After all, the holidays are typically a time to relax with those around you. Why should you be frantically doing the math to see if you should eat 2 cookies versus 3? Spoiler alert: it’s all about prolonging the enjoyment.
1. Moderation tastes better: Let’s be honest. Most of us just want to stuff our faces full of sugary cookies and gravy, right? It tastes great, and you’ve worked hard this year, so you deserve it. But, one of the best details about keeping things in moderation is that everything is going to taste better. Yes, seriously
If you eat, for example, 3 frosting-topped cookies and then go for a fourth one, you may find that the fourth one just doesn’t taste quite as good. So, you try another. Before you know it, you’ve eaten twelve, are twitching on a sugar high. And, to make matters worse, they don’t even taste good!
If you were to eat one classic cookie, taste a break, enjoy another treat you love, and then have another classic cookie, something magical happens. They both taste better than you remember.
Regardless of what your actual chosen area is, everything will taste better if you keep your snacks and treats varied.
2. Immunity is more crucial than ever: As we all gather inside to spend time together reminiscing and enjoying some delicious treats, the proximity also means that the flu, a cold, and even the potential of COVID-19 have more opportunity to spread. Since no one wants to spend the holiday in bed, sick, you’ll need to keep a healthy diet and lifestyle to help keep your immunity as strong as possible.
Making time for fruits and vegetables and/or adding a teaspoon of New Zealand Manuka honey to your morning tea or oatmeal can help you do your part to keep yourself safe and healthy.
3. You’ll look back on the holidays fondly: In about 6 months’ time, do you want to look back on the holidays and regret how many treats you had? Or regret going to that one party because you ended up with the flu on Christmas Eve? No, exactly. You can arm yourself for a happy and healthy holiday and then look back in 6 months’ time and see nothing but great times with those you care about most!
4. You’ll be on track for a brand new year: No one wants to ramp up for the start of a brand new year only find themselves dragged out, exhausted, and generally feeling awful about their outlook, and prioritizing your health and staying on track helps you leap into that new year filled with optimism and, most importantly, great health!
How to balance your healthy lifestyle with Christmas goodies
That all sounds great, but what does it actually mean when it comes to those Christmas treats and goodies? How are you supposed to make that balance work for your favorite areas? The top tips are below.
1. Pick a list of your favorites to prioritize
We’ve all got the favorites we look forward to. Whether it’s hot cocoa, gumdrop cake, or gingerbread, thank carefully about what your most-loved items are. Make a list of them if you wish.
The point of doing this is to know where to focus your snacking energy so that you can decline or avoid those that don’t matter to you as much. Making a list helps you get a better sense of where you want to focus.
2. Get your beauty sleep
Did you know that sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain? It’s also linked to higher stress levels and lower impulse control. When it comes to holidays, none of those things are going to bgood. Be sure to get your 8 hours in as much as you can. It’ll help you keep on top of things, and you won’t be feeling so dragged out, either!
3. Watch that sugar intake
This one seems obvious, but it’s essential! Sugar is everywhere and available in large amounts during the holiday season. Be aware of it and do what you can to cut out any unnecessary sources.
For example, learn how to make cookies with New Zealand Manuka honey instead of classic sugars and syrups. They’ll be just as tasty, and they’ll have an extra health kick when looking for extra incentives.
4. Prioritize protein rather than carbs
Carbs are also everywhere during the holidays. While it’s normal to indulge a bit on your classic health profile, do what you can to throw in some protein, too. Lean protein is always a good idea, and try to add in some fermented protein sources, too, since they are easiest for our body to digest. This focus on protein will be satisfying for our appetite and help resist excessive carbs!
5. Keep working out
We all tend to want to skip our gym days or our daily workouts when it comes to the holidays. As much as possible, try to keep on schedule. Not only will it feel good to keep active and moving, but it can also help ease the “guilt” you might be feeling if you overindulged or are worried about gaining back some weight over the season.
6. Don’t get pressured into breaking your habits
This is an important one! Even those we love can put some serious pressure on us to enjoy that extra cookie or skip your run in favor of lazing around instead. Make sure that you stick firmly to those habits that matter most to you. It won’t matter to them in the long run, and you’ll feel good about prioritizing what matters most in your short-term and long-term life, too!
Are there any healthy Christmas treats to make?
There are plenty of healthy and satisfying Christmas treats that you can make to give you some extra nutrition without missing out on the holiday goodies. Some of the best examples are cookie recipes that include New Zealand Manuka honey. Since baked goods are often so notorious “bad” choices, you can swap out the “bad” for the “good,” and everyone can enjoy them a whole lot more!
What foods are good to eat the morning after Christmas?
Christmas Day often leads us all feeling overstuffed. If you are looking for great choices for the day after Christmas, the key is to focus on those neglected areas. For most of us, that would be fiber, fruits and vegetables, and lean protein. Don’t be afraid to load your plate with sources that prioritize all of those areas!
Balancing your plate and your lifestyle between Christmas treats and your health isn’t going to be impossible. It just means focusing on the areas that matter most to you (in both areas) and designing a plan that is going to help you enjoy your holidays without sacrificing your health in the process. The rest is entirely up to you!