Healthier Holidays: 10 Tips for Feeling All The Joy & None of The Guilt

After last year, I’ve gotta admit; I’m so excited to celebrate the holidays with parties, casual get-togethers, and family celebrations galore. But while the holidays can sneak up on us every year, it doesn’t mean the pounds have to follow.

Gifts like chocolate or bottles of wine, Grandma’s homemade ravioli, Zia’s creamy mashed potatoes, not to mention every grocer, candy shop, and bakery displaying their array of mouthwatering cookies, pies, and holiday pastries make it pretty tempting to fall back into our restrictive ways. However, there is no need to deprive your taste buds this holiday season. Instead, try something new this year: Set your intention for 2022.

When we set lofty new year’s resolutions for ourselves, it’s easy to be optimistic because we make it future us’ problem. However, starting with an intention and creating a small healthy habit or starter habit is a commitment to yourself right now, which is how future change happens. You can start a tiny routine now because you, my friend, are capable of anything.

So what?

I know. All this intention-setting theory is great and all, but how do we actually make the change we’re craving? People usually don’t like this answer, but it’s different for everyone.

Genetics plays some part in creating vibrant health and knowing family patterns is absolutely essential. Still, soul-nourishing health is achievable despite your genes because health is a behavior, not a look. This is why working with a wellness coach in tandem with your doctor is such a powerful thing. Western medicine can explain a lot of what we cannot see, and Eastern medicine teaches us the wisdom of Mother Nature. But, a wellness coach helps you put that knowledge into action, and taking action is an individualized matter. 

However, if you’re looking for a little level-up right now, see how many of the following healthy holiday tips you already follow.

Healthy Holiday Tips

  1. Don’t make a meal with appetizers or snacks. Instead, try enough to feel like you’ve participated in this part of the dining experience and wait for the next course. Pacing yourself is helpful when you want to avoid that uncomfortable stuffed feeling no matter the time of year.
  2. Plan to eat a light breakfast and lunch on days you have holiday parties. While some people may think it’s logical to skip meals (especially if you subscribe to calorie deficits), don’t. Skipping meals can trigger the primal drive to overeat, not to mention the mess skipping meals can make of your hormones.
  3. Snack on fruits and vegetables before heading out the door. Having a small salad filled with antioxidants and fiber is a great way to honor your hunger and eat the rainbow.
  4. Be mindful of your portions. Take however much of what you want when you want it, so you can see everything you desire on the plate. Not only does this help you pace yourself, but it also lowers the likelihood of you grabbing seconds and helps you save room for dessert. If you’re not at the phase in your relationship with food yet where you’re ready to throw caution to the wind, look for foods high in fiber like whole grains, greens, and fruits.
  5. Send your guests away with some leftovers if you’re the host. By doing so, you let them relive the experience at home AND it saves you from having to repurpose those mashed potatoes for the 10th time next week. Win-win.
  6. Give yourself some time. On average, it takes your stomach 20 minutes to produce hormones (leptin) that tell your brain you’re full. So, eat slowly, and you’ll avoid the need to unbutton those pants after dinner or make outfit decisions based solely on their stretch factor. 😆 Tip: This is good for any meal, not just the holidays.
  7. Socialize away from the buffet, dessert table, or even the candy dish. We tend to eat more if the temptation is right in front of us. Out of sight, out of mind.
  8. Keep moving. Take a walk with your family and the dog before/after dinner. A tour of the neighborhood lights can make your usual mindful walk even more exciting.
  9. Stay hydrated. Never underestimate the power of h20! It’s also a good idea to stay mindful of your caffeine and alcohol consumption. For every coffee or glass of wine, drink 8 oz of water. Even those with high tolerances need to stay hydrated. 😉
  10. Enjoy yourself. It’s so easy to get swept up in the to-do’s that come with the holidays, so it’s crucial to make time to slow down and savor the moment. Something as simple as taking a moment before dinner or pausing before you turn off the tree to say, “I’m remembering this,” is a great place to start!

So, which tip do you feel pulled to implement this year?