5 tips for staying healthy during the holidays

I can’t believe it, Thanksgiving is this week! I say it every year, but time sure does fly and the holidays pass by even faster!

For many, the holiday season is a time to focus on spending quality time with friends and family while enjoying delicious meals and festive cocktails. Exercise is passed up for dinner dates with friends, veggies are replaced with starchy side dishes and succulent desserts! Though I 100% agree with letting loose, partaking in the festivities, and cherishing that extra time with those special people in your lives, practicing some healthy habits could save you from feeling sluggish after the holidays are over! Here are our 5 tips for staying healthy this holiday season!

Healthy holidays tips

Get Enough Sleep

Easier said than done, right? Late nights catching up with family and laughing with friends can leave you feeling exhausted. Sleep and appetite are closely related through the regulation of leptin, a hormone that acts to suppress appetite. With sleep deprivation, leptin is decreased- signaling your body it is starving, when in reality there is no starvation (1). Gherkin, a hormone that signals hunger, is increased in sleep deprivation, which can lead to poor food choices in the form of sugar and simple carbs (1) . In addition, research shows long term sleep deprivation can even increase your risk of type 2 diabetes (1). Make a conscious effort to get to bed most nights of the week to allow for some late nights here and there!

Stay Hydrated

This is perhaps the easiest tip we have on our list, just drink more water! Being dehydrated can trick your body into thinking its hungry, when in reality, you really need water. In addition, our bodies need adequate fluid to maintain our metabolism. Studies show that acute dehydration mimics acute fasting- resulting in breakdown of fat for energy and impaired insulin sensitivity (2). Fill up your favorite water bottle and keep it with you throughout the day. Even better, mark your water bottle with times to keep you on track with water consumption!

Don’t Skip Meals

This is all too common. You’re heading to a party and skip breakfast and lunch thinking you’ll be better off for indulging at the party. Overeating at one meal, while skipping other meals, can contribute to metabolic changes such as elevated fasting glucose, impaired morning glucose tolerance and delayed insulin response (3). In simple terms, this habit as a long term behavior can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. We recommend that if you know you’re going to be eating more than usual one night, eat smaller meals throughout the day, but don’t skip out on meals altogether. Focus those smaller meals on protein and fiber to keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day.

Stay Active

Starting your day with a brisk walk, an exercise class or a mind calming yoga class is a great way to balance blood sugar and get your metabolism moving. Additionally, starting your day with a healthy habit like exercise can help you to make healthy choices throughout the remainder of the day. Worried about being able to fit some daily exercise in? Plan activities with family and friends that will keep you moving. Some of our favorites include: A walk to the park for a picnic, sign up for a “turkey trot” with friends, or a yoga class with the girls.

Practice Portion Control

This may seem simple, but its easy to forget about the simple healthy habits we practice regularly amidst the stress and chaos of the holidays. Don’t deprive yourself of foods you love or those seasonal treats you look forward to all year, but rather have a small portion and savor the flavor. Many times, these foods are rich in flavor, so a small portion is still fulfilling if eaten slowly and with intention. To make sure you’re not left feeling hungry, fill up on protein and veggies. An easy rule of thumb is to fill half of your plate with veggies, one quarter of the plate with meat/protein, and one quarter with starch. Another tip to avoid overeating is to use smaller plates- filling up a plate makes you feel more satisfied, so trick your brain by filling up a smaller plate!

Portion control not only applies to food, but to beverages too! Whether it is a glass of wine, cocktail, holiday latte or mug of eggnog, any beverage with calories adds up quickly and contributes to overconsumption of calories. Since most of these beverages provide little nutrition, they don’t do anything to satiate hunger, though still provide those extra calories. Go easy on these beverages and make sure to drink plenty of water in between!

 

Talk to us: Do you have any healthy holiday tips that work for you?

 

 

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