It’s tempting to write off the holiday season as being a black hole for all your health goals. Not too fast now… You can have a very happy holiday and make healthy choices at the same time. It is possible! Try some of the following ideas for a happier and healthier holiday season this year.
- Stock healthy alternatives.
Look, we get it. Christmas isn’t Christmas without chocolate chip cookies. (Or insert here whatever food you equate with Christmas.) But have you ever considered that there might be a healthier alternative? For example, if chocolate chip cookies are your thing, look for the Paleo version, which uses way less sugar and is pretty healthy, too. Experiment a little. Christmas is about discovery and making new traditions as much as it is about celebrating the old.
- Choose hot teas instead of hot chocolate.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… That song should have a line about hot chocolate instead. Given how our obsession with this drink reaches new heights during Christmas. But did you know one hot chocolate drink has the potential to garner you the same amount of calories as a serving of fries? And all those cups do add up. Why not explore some better alternatives? For example, a chai soy latte, spiced apple cider, caramel macchiato, and mulled wine all have less than hot cocoa that has all the toppings.
- Go virgin.
There are many reasons why staying sober for the Holidays might be right for you. If this is your choice this holiday season, then you will want to be prepared. How? Know exactly what you will ask for when others are ordering their drinks. And make it yummy. If your friends are ordering cocktails, ask for a virgin version. Most bartenders worth their salt will know a great recipe without the alcohol content.
At home, keep a lot of soothing teas on the ready. Or non-alcoholic versions of your favorite drinks. What you trade in flavor, you get in knowing that you are sticking with your resolutions.
- Take on a winter sport to stay active.
People often complain of the difficulty of staying active during the winter. Enter winter sports! Take a couple of ice skating lessons or ice hockey lessons. And if you are in an area where ski or snowboarding lessons are available, try those out too! While bowling is not actually a winter sport, it is indoors. So that’s what counts.
- Choose your invites carefully.
A common source of stress during the holidays comes from the number of parties and other holiday obligations that begin to pile up. It can be difficult to keep this in mind, but you do get to have the final say about what you choose to do. If you know that attending a certain function will put you in a bad mood for days on end, decline gracefully. Something as simple as the following is sufficient, “Thank you for the invite, but I won’t be able to make it this year.”
- Be wise about your giving.
Another common source of holiday stress is the accumulated bill from all your gift purchases. Trying to figure out appropriate presents for each member of your extended family can be enough to give some people a headache. And in extreme cases, can cause an individual to look for ways to avoid attending the family’s Christmas dinner. A great alternative to buying individual presents for each person is giving a donation to a local charity. Or volunteering on behalf of your family. Gift giving can get out of control and put stress and strain on an occasion that really should be focused on family togetherness. Curbing your consumption during the holidays is an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle choice.
A little thoughtfulness when faced with decisions during the holidays will ensure clean and healthy fun days to come.