Eating Healthy During the Holidays

During the holiday season, it’s hard to avoid holiday songs, brightly colored lights, family and unhealthy food. While the holidays are about giving (including giving yourself a treat), it’s important to maintain a healthy diet. That can help manage your weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy during the holidays.

  • Prepare for the party by eating early. Holiday gatherings are the perfect place to find unhealthy snacks, from cheeses and prepared meats to gingerbread houses and cakes. To avoid temptation, eat a healthy meal at home before you head to the festivities. That way, you’ll be less inclined to sample all of the snacks.
  • Keep the holiday cheer in check. From eggnog at the party to champagne on New Year’s Eve, it’s easy to find you’ve had more drinks than you would normally. Drinking to excess is not only damaging and dangerous, it can often lead to letting your guard down and gorging on unhealthy foods. Be mindful and try limiting drinks to the guidelines set by the American Heart Association: no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women.
  • Manage your stress levels. Dealing with shopping lists, travel arrangements and family get-togethers piles on the stress during the holidays. With stress comes stress eating, and the foods people reach for are often fatty and full of sugar. Most unhealthy foods activate the pleasure center of our brains, releasing chemicals that make us calm and happy. Less stress means less likelihood of craving a too-sweet treat. To relieve stress, do an activity you enjoy like reading a book or taking a walk, or try meditation.
  • Don’t forget about exercising. The holidays are a busy time, but that shouldn’t stop you from exercising regularly. Try sticking to your regular routine or find ways to get creative: a trek to the mall for that last-minute gift is an opportunity to get in a good walk. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day, exercising will help you enjoy the effects of the diet you’ve been so good at following.

Remember to have fun and enjoy the holidays—and stay healthy, too!

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