The holidays are filled with parties, cookie exchanges and indulgent boozy beverages – and with good reason – but, in an effort to not feel weighed down and fall off track, here are some ways I manage to eat well and stay healthy during the holidays.
How to Manage Eating Well and Staying Healthy During the Holidays
Indulge in Foods You Absolutely Love
Are you a baked brie fanatic? Can’t take your paws off the eggnog daiquiris? So me. Absolutely LOVE your grandmother’s homemade snack mix that’s laden in brown sugar and butter? I hear you. Eat those foods! I recommend indulging in the foods you know you absolutely love and leaving the ones you don’t. For me, it’s easy to forgo fried appetizers and even macaroni and cheese, but if I see cake or a delicious looking chocolate dessert, I’m going all in. And I do.
Work Up a Sweat
I understand wanting to cut loose over the holiday season, and I’m definitely a fan of a little rest, relaxation and a holiday movie or twelve, but if exercise is a part of your lifestyle, it’s easy to keep it in the routine, even when the holidays start to get busier. Wake up early and get your workout in first thing before the festivities begin! Felix and I are at the gym most weekday mornings by 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. on the weekends. It’s not that we’re crazy fitness people (I mean, we are crazy), but working out is a part of our lifestyle, so we make the time for it, and the morning is the only time we have together to work out.
Supplement Your Treats With Healthy, Balanced Meals
There was a time in my life when I would restrict my diet all day if I knew I’d be going out to dinner with friends that evening. In hindsight, that was such a horrible idea and here’s why:
- You’re more likely to binge on unhealthier foods when you restrict.
- You’re denying yourself crucial nutrients when you skip meals and only feeding yourself less-than-stellar foods.
- You’re creating an unhealthy relationship with food and painting it as “bad,” which is not only the farthest thing from the truth, but is also incredibly detrimental for your body and your mind.
Eat. Eat food. Don’t skip breakfast. Fill your plate with colors, and even try eating more plant-based meals. Don’t. Skip. Meals. And don’t restrict your calories or “save” them for indulging later. Fuel your body, treat yourself and love every single bite of the food you eat, because food can be both nourishing and delicious. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
Since I started dating Felix, gone are the days where he ever gets to eat a dessert all by himself. Just kidding! Kind of. Sharing desserts is a great way to eat a little bit and not overdo it. I don’t know about you, but when I’m given dessert, I usually feel satisfied after a couple of bites, but I will continue eating it simply because it’s in front of me. Sometimes this is a good thing, like when I’m REALLY wanting an enormous bowl of ice cream with a brownie crumbled inside of it while watching Netflix, but most times it results in me feeling kind of blah. Try splitting desserts with your partner or a friend and see how it works out for you.
Don’t Forget to Hydrate
Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone HAM on bottomless mimosas, forgotten to hydrate and wanted to die later. *raises hand*
Staying hydrated is so IMPORTANT, YOU GUYS. In real life and in holiday life! Drink water when you wake up, drink water before a meal, drink water in-between cocktails and drink water before bed. It will help keep you energized so you can rock around your Christmas tree, it helps keep unnecessary hunger at bay (not that there’s anything wrong with hunger, but sometimes when you feel hungry, you’re actually dehydrated) and it’ll keep you from feeling like Spongebob when he finds himself in Sandy’s dome without his water helmet. DRINK WATER. DRINK IT.
Don’t Overthink It
At the end of the day, it’s the holiday season and we’re meant to deck the halls and enjoy ourselves. If you don’t get a workout in one day, life will go on. If you eat too many desserts and have a stomach ache, pop a Pepto Bismol tablet (but wash it down with water because they’re hella gross). Don’t overthink your daily life, but think about it enough to make your health and wellness a priority. Your mind and body are special, so treat them both with love and care, and that includes a healthy dose of both greens and chocolate, lounging and moving.
And now for a little treat to add to your holiday party rotation that you don’t have to feel too bad about, considering it’s loaded with healthy grains, fat and protein, along with the ultra delicious, sweet stuff!
My Granny would make this for special occasions, normal occasions, non-occasion occasions, etc. It never got old. And as cheesy as it sounds, she always made it with love, so don’t forget to add a hefty dose of that to your batch, as well.
Granny’s Snack Mix
Granny's Snack Mix
My Granny's snack mix recipe is made with Quaker Oatmeal Squares, cashews, pecans, brown sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon, toasted perfectly to create a light crunch and sweetness that’s a definite crowd-pleaser and snack time staple! Perfect for the holidays or any time of year!
- 1 box Quaker Oatmeal Squares
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup butter or melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Set oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a large sheet pan with cooking spray. Pour box of Quaker Squares and nuts into a large bowl and set aside. Melt brown sugar, butter or coconut oil and maple syrup in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and heat again in 30 second increments until all brown sugar is dissolved. Stir. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over cereal and nuts. Pour onto sheet pan and spread out evenly.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, stir and place bake into oven for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Make sure not to overbake.
Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Stir. Enjoy.
Depending on your oven, you may need to bake this snack mix more or less. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!
Enjoy the holidays, enjoy the food and company and enjoy your life.
You’re worth it.
Question of the Day!
Do you have a favorite recipe passed down from your grandparents?
What’s a health tip you swear by that keeps you feeling well and balanced?