Oh, December. The month of the holiday season and a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness.
The month of the absolute abundance of tempting treats and indulgent meals. For a lot of us, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle in these upcoming few weeks. But fear not, as there are a handful of strategies you can employ to make it through this delicious time without having to sacrifice the festive spirit.
Be Mindful and Stay Hydrated
The key to healthy eating, especially during the holidays, is mindfulness. Instead of simply filling your plate up to the fullest, take the time to savour each bite. Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, and listen to when it says it’s satisfied – and remember that it takes a good 20 minutes for your brain to send those cues out, starting from your first bite. By being fully mentally present during meals, you’re less likely to overeat and more likely to actually enjoy the bountiful flavours of the season. Of course, the holidays are a time for indulgence, but that doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind. Instead, opt for a balanced approach by incorporating a variety of foods; colourful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.
It’s also easy to forget to stay hydrated amidst the hustle and bustle. Make it a point to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially before meals. Not only does staying hydrated support your overall health, but it can also help control hunger and prevent overeating. If you usually struggle with drinking enough, try sparkling water, adding a slice of lemon, sugar-free flavour drops and teas. Especially now, there is an abundance of delicious Christmas-flavoured teas out there to help you get your water intake!
Stay Active and Prioritise Sleep
Don’t let the festivities be an excuse to skip your regular exercise routine – or to wait until it’s over to start fresh in January. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a workout session at the gym, or a family dance party – staying active is crucial for both physical and mental well-being. Exercise can also help counterbalance the extra calories consumed during your holiday feasts.
Make it an important task for you to not neglect your sleep, either. A well-rested body is better equipped to handle the stresses of the season. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support your overall well-being.
Before heading to holiday gatherings, consider eating a healthy snack to curb your appetite. Arriving at a party famished might sound like a good idea to some but may lead to overeating on less nutritious options. Additionally, plan your meals and snacks throughout the day, to ensure a well-rounded and satisfying diet for yourself. But also: enjoy the flavours of the season! Incorporate healthy festive foods into your meals. Load them up with nutrient-rich winter vegetables, savour the sweetness of fruits, and explore new recipes that showcase the best of the holidays ahead of us!