10 Great Tips for Celebrating a Guilt-free Holiday

Posted by on Dec 1, 2014 in Health, How-To's | Comments Off on 10 Great Tips for Celebrating a Guilt-free Holiday

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The holiday season is in full swing, and boy, am I excited! I love getting together with family and friends, and enjoying all the company, food and decorations!

Here are 10 easy tips from a naturopath to enjoy your seasonal favourites, stay healthy and feel great!

Tip #1.  Eat

Make sure you’re eating regular nutritious meals, and in moderate portions. Focusing on veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats will keep you nourished and feeling full. This way, you won’t be famished and prone to over-eating, which happens when you eat too many carbohydrates (breads, pastas, cookies, cakes etc). You can still enjoy the dishes you love, if you keep the portions small and choose wisely. This will prevent you from over-eating, then feeling bad about indulging and possibly gaining weight afterwards.

Tip #2.  Go for the veggies first

What party doesn’t have a vegetable platter? Eating vegetables first will give you fiber to fill you up and water to help keep you hydrated.

Tip #3.  Choose your favourites

When it comes to desserts, choose small portions of 2 or 3 of your favourites and eat consciously. This means chew slowly, take time to enjoy your food (the aroma, flavour & texture), enjoy the company, and recognize when you’re full.

Tip #4.  Drink the right way

Make sure that you’ve had a full dinner before an evening of drinking, and be sure to alternate with a glass of water between each alcoholic drink. Alcohol increases appetite and decreases inhibition, which can leave you eating more than you had intended. If you make sure that you’ve had a good meal beforehand, you’ll lessen your chances of over-eating.

Tip #5.  Plan one day to indulge

There are a lot of tasty foods to tempt you over the holiday season, and it’s easy to over-indulge! Take control of your impulses by choosing one day where you won’t pay too much attention to what you eat or drink. It will be much easier to stay consistent on the other days.

Tip #6.  Brush your teeth often

If you brush your teeth more often, you’re less likely to over-indulge because the taste of the toothpaste just doesn’t go well with a lot of foods. In doing this, you’ll also keep your gums and teeth in great shape!

Tip #7.  Ditch unhealthy traditions and make new ones

Some families have traditions like Christmas cake (overly sweet fruit cake) or Panettone. If you don’t like it, ditch it – and make yourself a new tradition. One great tradition I once read was as follows: The family would take the last Saturday and Sunday of November to clean out their house and prepare it for the holidays. On this weekend, they would clean out their living space and donate outgrown or unloved clothing, toys, books and other things to charity. They would finish the weekend with a Sunday family dinner where they would share what they are looking forward to the most over the holidays and they would draw names for gifts.

Tip #8.  Stay physically active

Staying physically active through the holidays will help keep you energetic, boost your immune system, and help burn any extra calories that you may consume. What kind of exercise burns more calories? Lifting weights burns more calories than running on a treadmill. Having said that, staying active doesn’t have to be limited to the gym! The idea is to get your heart working and muscles moving. You could get outside and play with the kids, go for a nice long walk with the dog, walk around the Christmas market, go skating, or pretty much anything else you like to do that keeps you moving.

Tip #9.  Spend time in the company of people you enjoy

Most of us love to see family and friends but with all the celebrations, it can all become overwhelming. Taking steps to avoid or limit your time with certain energy-draining family or friends will make your holiday season more enjoyable. When difficult gatherings are inevitable, make sure to do something fun or relaxing before and after, like getting a massage (use up those benefits before the end of the year!), meeting a friend for coffee, or having a candle-lit bath. Doing something nice for yourself before and after an unpleasant event can make it a much easier experience.

Tip #10.  Stay hydrated.

Staying hydrated will help everything from your memory to your appetite, along with your immunity and energy! Staying well hydrated will prevent over-eating and will decrease the chances (and severity) of hangovers!

 

Happy Holidays everyone,

Sarah Vincent, B.Sc., N.D.

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