Balanced Living

Healthy Holiday Strategies

Posted by Arja on December 19 in Holistic Health

You already know that you don’t have to eat absolutely everything that people give you, and you also don’t have to eat everything that you see on the buffet table.  But how do you navigate a holiday season that seems to be fueled by sugar and butter alone?

Instead of setting unreasonable expectations, why not set some realistic goals for yourself, and stick to those?

What do realistic goals look like?  Well, that’s going to be different for everyone, but here are a few ideas:

• Choose only one or two events where you will loosen up restrictions and enjoy yourself a bit
• If someone gives you a package of amazing homemade baked goods, set aside one of each type to sample over a few days, and share the rest with others
• Learn to say “no thanks” as goodies make the rounds at the office
• Pack a lunch and make sure that you eat it on time (or a bit early!) so that you’re already full when the early afternoon treats make an appearance
• Get extra veggies in wherever possible – green smoothies, veggie-packed juices, omelets stuffed with spinach and mushrooms, hearty soups, and quick and easy stir fries

Don’t forget to fit in some exercise, but again, be realistic!  When you’re tight for time and feeling pressured, an hour-long workout will be the first thing to go.  If you plan to fit in a few 30min power walks, and some quick and dirty training sessions (think HIIT style workouts in your living room) then not only will you still get it done, but you’ll feel a MILLION times better for having done it.  I work out with a trainer once a week and while I was doing my circuit the other day I had her write out a quick set of exercises that I can do in no more than 20 mins.  There a lot of these to be found online, so take a look!  Honour your fitness level, and go for it!

Here’s my healthy holiday strategy:

Breakfasts – green smoothies, veggie juices (especially after our multiple family dinners which always leave me feeling a little clogged), poached eggs on sautéed greens

Lunches –leftover soups from the freezer, shakes if we are on the run, veggies and dip with a boiled egg or smoked fish, omelets

Dinners – I’ve got a slow cooker meal planned for this weekend (try my new Chipotle Chicken & Sweet Potato Chili!) Vietnamese style summer rolls, and some Dal with Kale and fish; after our 3 Christmas dinners (my poor belly…) I’ll be looking for lighter fare, so fish and veggies will be on the menu, and maybe a frittata and salad

Sweets – baking for friends and family only, with only a small handful of things being kept for us; sending treats with hubby to work; allowing myself to sample a small amount of dessert at family gatherings

Exercise – dog walks, a full training session on Monday morning, a HIIT style workout on Boxing Day (after 2 dinners and before the third!), family skating, and pulling my kid around in his wagon/tobaggon

Will this all go according to plan?  Perhaps not, but I’ve got a plan and I feel good about it.

I’m going to drink some wine, eat some great food, and laugh my head off with family and friends.  We’re going to a family skate night, attending an open house after Christmas, and having a party on New Year’s Eve that I’m looking forward to.  When it’s all said and done though, as much as I like having a good time, I really hate feeling bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable in my own skin. 

So, choose to plan for some healthy habits this Christmas so that you can feel good about enjoying some of the stuff you don’t usually eat or do!  Your body will thank you.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I wish you and your loved ones a healthy, happy holiday season!  Take some time to share some laughs, dish out hugs, and be thankful for all that you have.  Richness is about more than just money – if you’ve got your health, a roof over your head, and a few friends that you can lean on than you’re very wealthy indeed.

Merry Christmas my friends!

arja pennanen lytle c.n.p. n.n.c.p certified nutritional practitioner

Arja is a Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for balanced living. She loves to help people sleep better, think better, feel sexier, and just generally feel better by putting the focus on eating foods that make you feel good. Arja uses whole foods, lifestyle adjustments, herbs, and some supplements to help people feel their best and achieve their health and wellness goals.