Holiday Health Tips: Eat, Drink and Be Merry
The holidays are around the corner and many of us are busy shopping, attending holiday parties and planning for the upcoming festivities! We gather with family and friends in tradition and togetherness. Food during the holidays is something representing comfort and relates to our emotions. It's a joyous time with a lot to be thankful for and it shouldn't turn into a time of feeling pressured to be overly restrictive or guilty about your choices. The key is to prepare and go in with a plan when you know you will be faced with the many delicious temptations that the holiday parties bring.
Follow these holiday health tips to Eat, Drink and Be Merry!
Before: Prepare and do damage control prior to the holiday or the party you will be attending. Be sure to be consistent with taking your vitamins ahead of time. With the colder weather, poor diet and stress from the holidays, the immune system is compromised which increases the likelihood of falling sick. Also, continue to eat a clean diet as long as possible until the event. Start with lowering your carbohydrate intake by eating meals that are well balanced with clean protein, healthy Fat and fresh fiber from veggies. Do this a few days prior to the event and also be sure to do so the morning and afternoon of the event so you are eating very little to no carbs but also not showing up to the party hungry and ravenous.
During: The day of the event, be sure to take a plant based probiotic to ensure your gut is prepared for the foods you will be consuming and to help with digestion. While you're at the party or social gathering, scout out what you will be eating first. Start with fresh fiber first such as a salad or fill your plate with veggies from the crudité platter. If there are dips, go for options like hummus and salsa versus dairy and cream based dips. Next, find protein such as meat skewers, salmon, shrimp, or a carving station. Once you have had fresh fiber and protein first, then go ahead and choose if you want to indulge in the other food offerings and dessert. You will have already filled up on the healthier options thus giving your brain a chance to register the food and make you feel satiated. This will allow you to approach the other food options in a less hungry state without fear of over indulging so you can enjoy the foods you want without feeling restricted or deprived.
Before: Hydrate a few days beforehand by increasing your water consumption. With the sweet and salty foods and if you plan to drink alcohol, you can easily become dehydrated. The day of the party, get at least 64 ounces of water in before you begin indulging in the festivities. Drink plain filtered water and if you want some flavor add lemon (which also helps alkalize you!) Try not to drink water directly before or after eating a big meal because it dilutes the stomach acid and slows down digestion. This is why hydration beforehand is important.
During: Who doesn't love a cocktail at a holiday party? Many of the festive cocktails are often times packed with tons of added sugar and toxic ingredients. That coupled with party food and sweets can drive sugar levels through the roof! If you want to enjoy a drink or few, opt for alcoholic beverages like brut champagne, dry white wine, tequila soda or vodka soda with lemon and lime. These drink options are lower in sugar and are a healthier option that will also make you feel better the next morning!
Before: Get movement in. Even if it's just a 20 -30 minute walk it is so important to just move. When you exercise you release endorphins which puts you into a positive state of mind. You will feel happy, more confident and start off your day with a great mindset.
During: Pause for a moment and reflect on the reason why you are attending the party or why you are celebrating the holiday. While we look forward to enjoying the food, drinks and sweets, the main reason you're there is to be social and to connect with others. It's an event where you can spend time connecting with friends, coworkers, acquaintances and be together with loved ones for the holidays. While we can turn to eating and drinking or even look to material gifts for pleasure, it has a short term effect. True joy and happiness comes from human connection and building memories with loved ones.
Keep these simple holiday health tips in mind and you will enjoy yourself while also doing small things that will help you stay on track. So enjoy the holidays and remember to just eat, drink and be merry!