Staying fit during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to give up the turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce. But it does involve understanding the trade-offs involved in your choices, and making decisions that maintain a healthy balance.
There are plenty of ways to eat smart during the holiday season. Find a healthy new dish—or two—to bring to your next holiday gathering. For your favorite holiday dishes, see if you can replace some of the ingredients with healthy substitutes. (Check out the handy click through to the right for some ideas on ingredient substitutions.) Look for low-fat, low-cholesterol alternatives. Try to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to the meal or dish, and use herbs and spices instead of salt to lower the amount of sodium in dishes. Read the Nutrition section of the Wellness-Fitness newsletter for a winning, low-carb recipe for portabella mushroom pizza.
Knowing that 'tis the season for eating, try to block off time to burn some of the extra calories. Set aside time to take a walk, ride a bike, or go to the gym. Keep as close as you can to your regular fitness routine, but also take advantage of your time with your friends and loved ones. Plan a group activity, such as taking a walk together or playing a team sport.
Enjoy your time off of work and take advantage of the ability to get quality rest. Wake up without the alarm clock on those holiday days off. If a gathering in the evening with friends or loved ones runs long, try to call it a night and plan to meet again the next day or plan to take a nap if you can find a free 20 to 30 minutes.
Maintain a healthy balance to enjoy your holidays even more by eating smart, staying active, and resting. Many of the things that make your body feel good also lower your risk for colds and flu, as well as a number of chronic diseases and medical disorders. Set yourself up for a wonderful and healthy new year with your smart choices now.