Easy Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

Holidays are the biggest time of the year for spending, traveling, and eating. It’s easy to get swept up in the chaos of things to do and conveniently wave activities like exercise and diet out the window. Here are a few tips to staying healthy during the torrent of family and friends without sacrificing health and happiness.

Go for green. This can be as easy as adding an extra helping of green beans or salad to your plate or signing up to bring a side of vegetables at a family potluck. Maximizing color–specifically green–to your diet is the first step towards a healthier you.

Balance your plate. Eating healthy doesn’t have to (nor should it) mean eating only greens at every meal. The USDA’s My Plate program recommends half of your plate consist of fruits and vegetables and the other half, grains and protein. Dairy should be a small side portion if consumed at all, though calcium is easily obtainable from leafy greens and soy-rich foods like tofu and soybeans. Sticking to a solid ratio ensures that you won’t go without favorites like potatoes and stuffing while still getting plenty of goodness.

Watch liquid calories. Although one glass of red wine a day can be beneficial, beer, wine, and most liquors contain more calories than you might think. For example, a glass of red wine sits at about 125 calories, while a bottle of beer is about 115. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have a few drinks over the course of a night, but always (especially with alcohol) keep an eye on your consumption. Moderation is key.

Monitor portion size. The best way to limit food cravings and overeating is to eat small meals throughout the day. Take a few minutes while getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner to take a break and snack on pecans, fruit, or whole wheat crackers. Eating throughout the day can prevent bingeing at meals and will keep you satisfied for longer.

Get up and move. Although it might seem like there’s no time to breathe let alone exercise, even just taking fifteen minutes a day can generate endorphins that boost your mood. It doesn’t just have to be you getting exercise either. Get the family out on a walk with the dog or throw a ball around between dinner and dessert. Don’t let a little cold trap you or your family inside.

Finally, these tips aren’t hard rules. The root of a healthy lifestyle is moderation. You don’t have to limit calories, nor should you push yourself to get up and run every day unless that’s what you want to do. Staying healthy is just one step to retaining energy and happiness in the busiest time of the year.