They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year! It can also be the most hectic!
The holidays offer so many special opportunities to connect with family and friends. One of the ways we do this is by sharing meals.
Yet these scrumptious meals and the busy schedule you’re likely to have during this time of year can hinder your health, fitness and nutrition goals.
This year, you can better prepare yourself for the many challenges that come with the holidays by following these steps for staying nutrition smart and mindful of your health needs.
Healthy Holiday Eating Habits
Whether you plan to be home for the holidays or traveling around a bit, there are several healthy nutrition habits you can focus on to help you stay looking and feeling your best during this often wonderful- yet hectic- time of year.
You can maintain your nutrition goals by:
- Enjoying a healthy and filling meal before your car ride or flight.
- Packing your own food from home to bring with you on your travels.
- Keeping nutrient-rich snacks (nuts, fruit, beef jerky, protein bars) in your purse, car, or carry-on bag when flying.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your energy high and cravings/hunger in check- you’ll be less likely to over indulge on the holiday treats and festive cocktails.
- Avoid skipping meals in order to keep your metabolism running efficiently and blood sugar levels stable. You will also be less likely to indulge on carb heavy appetizers and sugar laden desserts later.
- Be mindful of your portions- fill up on protein and veggies first. Take a break before dessert and see if you still have room for it. Our brain and stomach need some time to realize we are full!
- Make your plate as colorful as possible to boost your nutrient intake and immunity. If you plan to enjoy a cookie or piece of apple pie for dessert, counteract your caloric intake during the meal by choosing the most nutrient dense options, such as lots of protein and veggies instead of starchy carbs. In the event that you have no other option but to eat a less-than-nutritious meal, focus on protein first (to help with satiety) and choose smaller portions.
- If you’re not hosting the holiday dinner, offer to bring a nutritious side dish. This way you can ensure you’re sticking to your goals – and you’ll encourage others to enjoy a healthy option, too!
Taking the above steps will help you stick to your nutrition goals and support your immune system while you encounter lots of other travelers on the road and in the air. You’ll be spending more time indoors surrounded by others which means you’ll be exposed to more germs and viruses so taking care of yourself and supporting your immune system during the holiday season is essential.
Maintain Your Sleep Schedule
We can’t emphasize this enough: A good night’s sleep is the foundation for health.
Seven to nine hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep each night gives you the energy you need to stay focused, feel good and get you through your day.
Just because the holidays are busy, doesn’t mean you should skimp on your sleep. If anything, it’s more important to maintain your sleep schedule during this time of year.
If you’re not getting enough restful sleep, your holidays will be less enjoyable.
Since you’ll feel more fatigued, you may be more likely to crave sugary treats that impact your nutrition goals.
If that wasn’t bad enough, lack of quality sleep makes you more vulnerable to germs and viruses due to a weakened immune system.
Manage Your Stress
The holidays are packed full of various celebrations and obligations. Whether you’re attending these various events or hosting them, there’s no doubt that your stress levels are running high.
One of the ways most people deal with holiday stress is to overeat. The comforting feeling that a plate of chocolate chip cookies and a mug of hot chocolate offers helps them feel less stressed.
Unfortunately, these choices are also high in calories, offer no real nutritional value, and impact your immune system. They’re also just a quick, temporary stress relief.
There are better ways to manage your stress levels during the holidays.
Spending a few minutes each day meditating first thing in the morning is a wonderful way to calm your mind and body so it’s better prepared to handle daily stressors.
Keeping a journal and writing down three things you’re grateful for every day is another great outlet for stress during this busy time.
Spending time outdoors also helps you unwind when things are getting a bit too chaotic. Taking a stroll around the neighborhood or just sitting for a few minutes outside your house in the sun listening to the sounds of nature are just two more ways you can regulate your nervous system and keep your stress levels in check.
Workout Whenever (And Wherever) You Can
We know how busy the holidays can be. There never seems to be enough time to do all the things you have to do.
Unfortunately, one of the ways many people free up their time is to put their exercise routine on hold until after the holidays.
If anything, the holidays are the one time of year you do not want to refrain from exercising.
While it may be more challenging to devote time to your regular workout, it doesn’t mean you have to stop- just find quick and effective ways to exercise anytime and anywhere you can!
If you’re at the airport or the mall, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Going to the grocery store? Park your car further from the store so your walk is a little bit longer. Use your grocery bags as free weights when you’re carrying them into your house.
These are just a few of the unique ways you can find the time to exercise during the hectic holidays.
Best of all, you can always schedule a virtual workout with Loyalty Fitness. Because it is only 30 minutes of your day, this option enables you to easily prioritize your workout into your busy schedule. Plus, you can conveniently work out from anywhere- whether it’s in the comfort of your own home or from your hotel room while traveling.
Let Loyalty Fitness Help You During the Holidays
Don’t let the holiday season be a time where you lose sight of your goals and fall off your nutrition and exercise regime. Staying on track this time of year is vital for your overall health and wellbeing! Plus, you’ll be starting the new year off on the right foot!
Although there are many obstacles in your way, if you follow the steps above, you’ll be better prepared to avoid the health and wellness pitfalls that affect so many during this time of year. You will also be more likely to keep your immune system strong and to fight off illness that is also more prevalent at this time.
If you’re still finding the holidays too challenging, remember that you don’t have to face these challenges alone. Loyalty Fitness is here to help you!
From our Nutrition Coaching service to our 30 minute Virtual Training Sessions, we can help you stay on track with your nutrition and fitness goals.
Contact our team today to stay strong and healthy during the holidays!