The holidays are a time for festivities and joy and food always seems to be the one thing that brings everyone together. The holidays are a busy time of year, and this extra hustle and bustle can make it difficult to maintain your healthy habits—but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
After all, repetitive behaviors done consistently are easier to maintain than ones you do sporadically. Following these tips can help you maintain healthy eating habits during the holidays and maintain that commitment to yourself.
Planning ahead is your first effort to maintain your fitness and nutrition goals, whatever those goals may be. Here are some examples of things you can pre-plan to stay on track.
- Plan your plate: Dish up nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables first, then adding whole grains and lean protein last. This will help make sure you don’t forget these feel-good foods.
- Prioritize nutrients: Eating something that is nutrient-rich and filling prior to your big meal is an great way to stick to your goals.
- Make an activity plan: Work in a recovery week from your exercise routine—either plan to take the week off or incorporate lighter activities such as bodyweight or resistance band exercises.
This will form a healthy habit and help you enjoy your food more. When eating, try to pay attention to the smell, taste, and textures of the food. This also allows you to have more conversation with the loved ones you’re eating with.
Even if you are following these steps, it takes time for your brain to tell you you’re full. It’s best to wait 10 minutes before getting up and getting more food so you can listen to your body. Your body will send you natural signals to let you know that you’re finished (or may need more if that’s the case).
Get Active Together
Encourage others and boost your movement during the holidays by participating in activities that get your heart pumping as a group. Plan to go for a walk throughout the day, sign up for a holiday race together, or play with the kids outdoors. Planning these activities will build lasting memories and give everyone a healthy endorphin boost.
Sleep is the utmost important during the holidays. This is key when you’re wanting to meet and maintain all of your healthy habits. When you’re lacking sleep, other decisions become more challenging and you wont be as motivated to move your body.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, even during the holidays. Doing so will help reduce your stress and keep you healthy in more ways than one.
Bring Nutrient-Dense Dishes
A simple way to manage your food choices is to bring or prepare nutrient-dense dishes to share. High volume, nutrient-dense foods will provide vitamins and minerals while keeping you feeling full. You get the best of both worlds by doing your share and bringing a dish, and also maintaining your healthy habits.
Stick to Your Goals
The holidays are a time to break free of the regular day-to-day grind and enjoy yourself and others company. However, it is still possible to maintain some of your nutrition and fitness goals so that you can feel your best.
Managing stress, staying active, sleeping 7-9 hours, and eating nutrient-dense dishes will help you make the most out of this holiday season. Incorporating strategies to prioritize these habits is a form of self-care. And what’s more—you will be a good role model for your friends and family.