With all the holiday parties and commitments, it can be difficult not to over-imbibe or over-caffeinate. The effect that excess amounts of alcohol, caffeine and sugar have on our bodies is often under-estimated. Too much caffeine can make you jittery, irritable, and restless and can cause an upset stomach. Excess drinking promotes a wide variety of health risks. Moreover, beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, can add empty, unnecessary calories to your day. This New Year’s be aware of the health effects of the liquids you’re drinking.
Stay Hydrated – The dry winter weather makes us more susceptible to dehydration. Remember to drink eight to twelve glasses of water a day. If you’re consuming alcohol, it’s especially important to stay hydrated. Alternate a glass of water in-between drinks.
Hidden Calories – Be aware of the calories in the drinks you’re choosing. Beverages mixed with cream and sugary mixers can have upwards of 400+ calories. For example, eggnog can have 300-400 calories per glass! The calories in juices and punches can add up, not to mention the high sugar content.
Get Cozy with a Cup of Tea – In addition to the comfort of cuddling up on your couch with a mug of this holiday beverage, the health benefits of tea go far beyond those warm, fuzzy feelings. Studies have shown tea to assist weight loss, boost the immune system and antioxidant intake and even help lower the risk of certain diseases. Drink up!
Healthy Holiday Eating
The key to sticking with healthy eating habits over the holidays is to have a predetermined game-plan. Whether you’re traveling, at a party or hosting a big meal, we’ve got you covered with healthy eating tips.
When You’re On the Go – If you’re traveling over the holidays, eat a healthy, well-balanced meal at home before you leave for your trip. Also, make a healthy snack pack filled with portable foods like nuts, apples, hummus and vegetables and low-sugar granola or protein bars. If you need to eat out, head to a local grocery store instead of a fast food location for healthier, whole food options.
Portions at Parties – You’re at a party and there are trays of cheese, mini appetizers and cookies for days. They’re small so they can’t have too many calories, right? Wrong. Try to keep a count of how many bite-size appetizers you’re eating. One easy way to manage portions is to use a smaller plate. Also, make sure you’re filling up at least half your plate with healthy options to maintain a balance.
Navigating Holiday Feasts – Skip the pre-dinner breads and strategically placed dishes of nut mixes and candies. This will save hundreds of calories and you now have room to indulge in the decadent, once-a-year dishes you truly enjoy. Savor in moderate proportions and avoid second helpings.
Tips for holiday favorites:
- Go for skinless turkey breast over thigh; dark meat is higher in saturated fat and calories.
- Dishing gravy? Use a soup spoon instead of a spout.
- Time for pie? Hold the whipped cream, please.
Social Giving and Positive Thinking
“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” – Booker T. Washington
The holidays call for celebration, giving and quality time spent with loved ones. Use these tips to stay present with friends and family, give back to others in need and to remember what matters most during this special season.
Reflect – What are you truly grateful for? Take a minute or two every day to acknowledge the simple things in life. This should be an ongoing tradition, not just over Thanksgiving!
Support Your Local Community – Volunteer at a local shelter or support a cause that is important to you. On many occasions, time is worth much more than money donated. An afternoon with you could brighten someone’s day and even their holiday season.
Shop Mindfully – Consider what type of a gift would make the most impact on a person. An activity tracker to help keep them healthy? Donating to their favorite charity on their behalf? Simply spending quality time with each other, free of cell phones and other technology? The holidays do not need to be about adding to your stress levels by breaking the bank!
Make Time to Move
Between work, traveling, parties, purchasing gifts, prepping for guests and everything else on your to-do list, it can be hard to stick with your regular exercise routine. Over the holidays you are likely to consume more calories than normal so it’s important to stay active. Just because you can’t make time for your regular routine, doesn’t mean you can’t make time to move!
Add it your Calendar – If possible, stick to your regular workout routine as much as possible. Block off 30-60 minutes on your calendar a few days per week and break a sweat!
Get Active Together – Just because you have a house full of guests, does not mean you have to sit around and eat all day. Consider planning healthy activities like ice skating, walking around the neighborhood to look at holiday decorations, hiking, building a snowman, snowshoeing – the options are endless!
Little Things Add Up – If it’s an extra busy week, add in little opportunities for additional activity throughout your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the very end of the parking lot when at the grocery store, and if you carry out your groceries instead of using a cart it’s an added arm workout! Try completing a few desk exercises while at work.