While it’s in my personal belief that it’s way too early to be discussing anything related to Christmas and New Year’s , I realize that most people don’t feel the same way. Holiday parties are in full swing and the shopping has begun. So, before we get any further into the season, here are a few tips to help keep you healthy for the holidays and into the New Year. (Remember to check with your health care practitioner before taking up any new supplement or health regime).
1. Keep your baseline diet nutritious. With all the temptations of the holiday season, it’s easy to veer off track. But, by eating a balanced diet, of veggies, fruit, quality protein and whole grains, you’ll ensure your body is getting a steady supply of the nutrients it needs. That’s not to say you can’t indulge (see here for more) but keep your regular meals nutritious. This is also important to improve mood and keep blood sugar balanced.
2. Get enough sleep. I know, who am I kidding? But rest, relax and aim to get enough sleep to feel restored. And remember, caffeine in moderation is ok, but too much will contribute to feelings of stress as your nervous system is stimulated.
3. Prioritize. If you feel like you’re being pulled in all directions, remember it’s ok to say no. With the holidays, events that should be enjoyable often seem more like obligations to check off a list. Make a few commitments, but make sure to enjoy your time and if you have to, schedule some down time to catch up and rejuvenate.
4. Watch the excesses. Have fun, but resist the urge to have gingerbread for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Further, don’t over-do it with the eggnog, punch or other alcoholic beverages. Moderation is key.
5. Pop a good quality multi-vitamin: This can’t compensate for a poor diet, but it can help to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need to stay on top of your game. Look for one with good amounts of B-vitamins as they’re important for helping your body combat stress. With all the products on the market, check in with you nutritional consultant to help find one that is right for you.
6. Enjoy the season. Forget about traffic, long shopping lines and everything else that contributes to stress, and remember friends, family and all the other things that matter most.
Everywhere I look it’s turkey! Turkey, turkey, turkey. American Thanksgiving must be upon us. As a Canadian, and a non-football fan, it’s essentially just another Thursday to me. But, I can’t deny that for most people it marks the true beginning of the holiday season. When planning for the holidays, I must confess, the number one thing on my mind is not shopping, or gift giving or even visiting friends and family. It’s food. All of the unique treats that we seem to reserve for this special time of year. Eggnog and gingerbread and my mom’s lasagne always seem to fit into the equation. I may be into nutrition, but I won’t deny that I love to eat.
Lately, I find however, that for every great recipe or meal idea I see, there is an equal and opposite article emphasizing how to stay slim over the holidays. And while I agree with much of what is said, yes, sneak in that extra work-out , I deviate from most experts in that I believe that some things are just meant to be enjoyed. Unless you are an athlete in training, a model or actress, or someone eating a specialized diet to control a health condition, such as diabetes, loosen up a bit! That is not to say go on a bender and gain 25 pounds between now and New Years. But for goodness sake, have some gravy with your turkey. Indulge a little.
While I generally feel we should eat to nourish our bodies, we should also satisfy our soul. If you have a favorite lightened up recipe, by all means, enjoy it. And if you want to skip the dessert cart at your third work-related holiday party, be my guest. But, don’t cut out where it counts. Enjoy your favorites, make the most of the moments and don’t let diet worries take away from the joy of the season.
Hi, I'm Shara Vickers, a Nutritional Health and Fitness Specialist located in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Please have a look around to find out more about my approach to health and the coaching and consulting services I offer to both local and long-distance clients.