How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Eating well and staying healthy throughout the holiday season can be daunting. And let’s be honest, most people aren’t successful at maintaining their goals throughout the holidays. Whether its your favorite pie, a few extra festive cocktails or turkey overload, there are many treats to look forward to in the holiday season. But, what if you could enjoy the holidays without sabotaging your health?

The holidays should be full of quality family time, festive food and good wine. But if done wrong, it can totally take a toll on your health and leave you feeling foggy, exhausted and sick. So here are my tips as a nutritional therapist on how to stay healthy during the holidays while still enjoying yourself:

1. Stay Hydrated

Hydration is more important than most people think. It is truly one of the easiest ways to optimize you health. Proper hydration helps with nutrient transportation, flushing toxins, enabling proper digestion, improves joint and tissue function and so much more! So when in a season full of extra drinks and extra decadent meals, hydration should be top priority. Make sure to start every day in the upcoming month (and always!) with a large glass of water. Incorporate electrolyte-rich beverages to help your body absorb water and maintain hydration. Choose beverages filled with these naturally occurring electrolytes, like coconut water and bone broth. My favorite way to get electrolytes into my diet is by using Trace Mineral Drops. I add these into my water every morning and I have noticed a huge difference in my hydration.

2. Eat protein with every meal

Typical holiday food is filled with lots of yummy carbohydrate heavy foods and thats great! But, if you rely only on carbohydrates for your meals, you will find yourself struggling with blood sugar spikes that can impact your mood, energy, sugar cravings, weight gain, headaches and much more. So when indulging over the holiday, make sure to also pair your yummy carb filled meals with a serving of protein. Protein is satiating, which means it will leave you full for a longer time and helps reduce sugar cravings. Consumption of protein reduces your level of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Protein is also is imperative for building and maintaining muscle mass. So if you want all the work you have put in at the gym to last through the holiday season, make sure to add protein to your plate to avoid muscle loss!

3. Take time to sleep and rest your body

It can be hard during the holiday season to prioritize sleep but it is imperative to your health. During times of rest, our bodies detoxify, repair and rebuild. And in a season that is so busy, its especially crucial to give your body the time it needs to rest. Support your physical and mental health by obtaining a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

Sleep also is important for your immune system. The extra drinks and social time can leave our immune systems weakened so getting proper rest is vital. Whether that means sleeping in a little more than normal, taking a nap when you typically wouldn’t or skipping the Netflix show at night and going to bed earlier, take the extra step to rest.

4. Don’t restrict and binge

If you go into the holidays trying to completely restrict yourself and eat perfectly, you are setting yourself up for failure. By restricting yourself so much, you’re destined to eventually lose control which typically leads to binging on unhealthy food. We have all been there, when your hunched over a plate of cake and pie with not control feeling so guilty.

So instead of entering the binge and restrict cycle over the holidays, allow yourself grace to eat intuitively. Trust your body to make food choices that feel good without judging yourself for eating something that you wouldn’t typically eat. If you want a piece of pie, honor that craving. Enjoy the pie. If you allow yourself to try the delicious holiday treats instead of restricting yourself from them, you’re much more likely to actually eat less of them and actually enjoy yourself.

5. Change your mindset and enjoy the holidays

One of the most special parts about the holidays is eating tasty food that brings back nostalgic memories from the past and brings you and your loved ones together to make even more memories. Changing your mindset and enjoying the holidays can actually be the best thing you do this holiday season.

Being healthy is so much more than what you eat. Your happiness and stress levels are vital to overall health. We all deserve to be surrounded by the ones we love, having the time of our lives. So, eat the piece of pie and drink the extra glass of wine! Stressing yourself by counting calories will actually bring you more harm than the food itself.

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