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Five Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Posted on December 22 2017

Breakfast is Key
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. What you eat for breakfast can set your body up for the rest of the day. A low sugar and high protein breakfast will set a great tone for the day.

Sugar is everywhere during the holidays, and it can be really hard, and sometimes even rude to resist it. When your blood sugar levels are unstable, you don’t feel good. You get hungry and tired quickly, so you want a pick me up. Instead, try to cut down the sugar, especially when you can make your own meals.

A great breakfast would be a smoothie that is high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Your body will be ready for a great day with these extra nutrients.

Here’s a great recipe for festive Gingerbread Smoothie.
½ cup Greek yogurt (or 1 cup plain yogurt)
½ cup milk
1 cup spinach leaves, loosely packed
1 banana (preferably frozen)
½ cup white beans, cooked
1 T molasses
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
Combine all the ingredients in the order listed above into a blender. Blend until there is a creamy consistency.

Saving Calories is a Bad Idea
It’s very tempting to save calories for later in the day. Maybe hoard them for that Christmas party. However, just like grocery shopping while you’re hungry, going to a party hungry just leads to trouble. You’ll find yourself snacking on everything in sight. And the snacks are rarely healthy. Even if you’ve saved up calories, points, or whatever you’re using to track what you eat, it’s still not a good idea.

When you snack like this, your blood sugar ends up unbalanced. After a party, it may stay that way for around 12 hours. You’ll be hungry all night, maybe get a headache, feel tired, and just reach for more sugary snacks. Even if you do have the willpower to avoid the snacks, you’re not going to feel good.

Instead, have a low sugar breakfast and lunch to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. Then when you get to the party you’ll be able to enjoy just a couple bites of snacks instead of eyeing the dessert table during the Secret Santa gift exchange.

Try Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is a centuries old remedy to aid digestion. It has been shown to relieve gas and bloating while also reducing heartburn and indigestion.

Organic peppermint tea is easy to find at health stores or online. Check the ingredients to make sure there’s no additives or caffeine in it. It should only contain peppermint. A blend of natural herbs is also acceptable. To receive the greatest benefit, don’t add any sugar. Besides, you’ve come this far. Don’t waste the sugar on the tea now!

As an added bonus, this peppermint tea is the perfect addition to a holiday party. What’s more festive than peppermint? While a candy cane may not be the healthiest thing, we’ll let it slide if you use one just to stir the tea.

Stay Physically Active
This is probably the one we all hate the most, right? Studies have shown that adults, on average, gain over a pound during the holidays. And they are not very likely to lose that weight the next year. If you stay active, you can avoid those extra pounds, or at least be more likely to lose it quickly.

We’re all so busy during the holidays that it’s easy to say you don’t have time to exercise. If that’s you, then here’s a few ideas of how to stay active while doing things you already have to get done.

Shop at stores, not online. If you go to a store, you’ll need to park (probably far away which is another plus in this case), walk in, look around, and probably stand in a very long line. It can be frustrating, but it’s also fun. I’ve found a lot of gifts by just browsing a store. Of course, online shopping has its place, but take some trips to a mall to get in some walking.

Cut down your own Christmas tree. It’ll probably be a bit of a hike, and you’ll burn some calories getting to it, cutting it down, and carrying it to the car. Then decorating it is another story entirely. If you stand up that whole time, that’s more activity. Especially if you’re like me with 12 boxes of ornaments!

Play with the kids. Pull them in the sleds, build snowmen (those snowballs can get really heavy too!), set up a candy cane hunt (either hunt them or hide them), or build a gingerbread house. A gingerbread house may not seem active, but when that roof starts to cave in, you’ll be running to catch it.

Don’t Get Down on Yourself If You Slip Up
It’s hard to stick to a healthy lifestyle at any time of year. The holidays make it even harder. You probably will slip up. And that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up over it. One mistake here and there isn’t going to kill you, and it isn’t going to ruin a diet either. But, feeling depressed over it might.

An important part of staying healthy and losing weight is mental health. The holidays are stressful enough without you worrying yourself over your own habits. That anxiety will actually increase the stress chemicals in your body which have been shown to cause weight gain. So, all that stress is counterproductive. If you ate too many cookies at the party last night, just try to do better today. Dwelling on it won’t help anybody.

(But if you do slip up, make sure it’s for something really good!)