The holiday season is a joyous time of year, full of celebrations with friends and family. Unfortunately, it’s also a season with a lot of unhealthy eating. While all those goodies can trigger fond memories and enhance fun times, they can also lead to unwanted weight gain and health issues in the new year. Fortunately, we’ve got some tips that will help you maintain a healthy diet, without ever feeling like you’re missing out on the fun of the holidays.
- Start with a plan. Consider your food budget and stick to it, making choices that fit into your healthy eating plan. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your favorite treats, it just means you have to plan for them. For instance, if you plan on having a piece of pie for dessert, forgo the bread at dinner to make up for the additional carbs. Don’t skip meals to “save up” for a party, though. Instead, try to keep your eating schedule as close to normal as possible.
- If you’re cooking, consider your health. Make smart substitutions, using recipes for favorite foods that are made with less sugar and fats. When you’re attending a party, ask if you can bring a dish, and bring one that fits in with your healthy eating plan. You’ll be setting yourself up for success and helping other people to make healthy choices, too.
- Go nowhere with an empty stomach. Eat before you shop, so that you won’t overbuy, and you won’t snack at the store. Pregame with healthy foods before a party, so that you won’t be ruled by hunger and make unwise choices.
- Focus on your favorites. We all have holiday favorites that make the season feel special, and indulging in a favorite treat doesn’t have to derail your healthy eating plan. The important thing is to decide which foods are most important to you, and not waste your calories on things that you don’t really care about eating.
- Step away from the buffet. Sometimes, proximity can be dangerous. If you stand next to the food table, chatting, you may end up mindlessly popping food into your mouth. When you’re at a party, circulate so that the food doesn’t hold your attention. If you struggle with this, chew a piece of gum to deter yourself from eating.
- Think before you overindulge. Sometimes, eating can become impulsive. If you’re thinking about helping yourself to seconds, wait a few minutes and let your brain catch up with your body. Drink some water, talk to someone, or walk around. After 10 minutes, you may discover that you don’t need anything else to eat, or you can make do with a small portion of a vegetable or salad.
- Make activity part of the fun. Go for a walk, toss a ball around, or take a spin on the dance floor. When some of the holiday memories you make revolve around fun exercise, your health will benefit.
- Limit the libations. Alcoholic beverages, especially eggnog and other holiday drinks, can pack a hefty caloric punch. If you do indulge, drink with a meal, and drink more water than alcohol.
- Get plenty of rest. In the busy holiday season, it can be easy to neglect your sleep hygiene. To stay healthy, aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Take some time to destress, too, perhaps by practicing mindfulness, yoga, or deep breathing.
- Remember what the season is all about. Ultimately, it’s not the food that makes the holidays special. It’s the time spent practicing cherished traditions with the people who matter the most. Focus on these special moments and connections, and you’ll find that eating fatty, sugary treats becomes less important.
At Parkwood Heights, we want everyone to enjoy the holiday season while also prioritizing the health and happiness of our residents. It’s all part of providing a great place for seniors to live their best lives. A lovely community in which to spend your retirement, Parkwood Heights is located just minutes from Victor, Fairport, Farmington, and Canandaigua. Our picturesque, 122-acre senior living campus affords many opportunities to enjoy your time with friends and family, while enjoying our scenic setting. Call (315) 986-9100 to learn more about all that we have to offer or check out our website and reach out if you have any questions.