It’s that time of year again. Store shelves are full of holiday treats and décor. From November to January, between Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s, ‘tis the season for office gatherings and holiday parties, togetherness and giving – and overindulgence. Our days are filled with gift baskets and decadent holiday treats while the nights ring out with sleigh bells and the toasting of cheers.
While the shared times with family and friends are wonderful, the aftermath is less than desirable: weight gain, moodiness, post-holiday blues. Many people describe feeling a sort of emotional drop after the holiday season, a sort of post-holiday letdown, largely due to the spike in indulgent eating and drinking. January comes with resolutions and a rush to detox and exercise.
As we age, it takes a bigger toll, it gets harder to bounce back. With this in mind, plus overall health, I have put together a few tips to help keep you healthier – and happier – this holiday season.
Beware: Sugar, wheat, alcohol, food coloring, chemicals, and even more sugar = weight gain, moodiness, holiday blues. Don’t make November to January a free for all.
Healthier alternatives. Skip the candy and check out pinterest for cute holiday ideas using fruits and vegetables.
Moderation. Choose your indulgence carefully, like a small piece of dark chocolate instead of the overly processed candy-coated treats. Eat mindfully, and really savor the taste and texture.
Extra healthy eating in between holiday parties. Think organic greens, fermented foods to repair your digestive health, and healthy fats like coconut oil and organic avocado.
Gut-friendly choices. Sugar, alcohol, wheat, chemicals and processed foods wreak havoc on gut health, which in turn causes issues with neurotransmitter functioning. Translation: think cravings, poor mood, brain fog, irritability, moodiness – plus digestive issues. Increase your intake of probiotic-rich foods like kombucha tea, sauerkraut, grass-fed raw kefir, and kimchi. Another great food for digestive health is grass-fed bone broth.
Vitamins and supplements. Sugar and stress deplete magnesium levels. Wheat and sugar throw off gut health and interfere with mood and cognition. Vitamin D levels drop in the winter due to lack of sunlight. In addition to a high quality multi-vitamin and consuming nutrient-rich greens and veggies, remember to take your probiotics, omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium and vitamin D.
Healthy options. If you’re throwing a holiday party, encourage people to get creative with healthy options. Enjoy a seasonal butternut squash soup. Make a cute holiday scene out of organic fruits and veggies. Make a pumpkin yogurt dip with raw honey.
Prep and planning. Meal prep healthy options to keep you on track between holiday parties. You will feel better, and your weight will be healthier.
Destressing. High stress levels often drive people to overeat. Remember to continue self-care practices – or add some new ones. Yoga. Acupuncture. Meditation. Reading. Exercise. Walking. Get in tune with YOU and what you need to feel healthy and balances. Remember that every healthy choice you make will reap a world of benefits.