The holiday season is here again. This time of year comes with so much excitement, with annual traditions, and plenty of time with loved ones. But it also centers heavily around food, which can be a challenge for many to navigate.
With so many four-course meals and decadent desserts on the horizon, people struggle with how to keep up their health and wellness. Some say calories don’t count at all during the holidays while others make dietary restrictions even more strict. But, like with all parts of a healthy lifestyle, holiday eating is best when balanced.
Here are some tips to help you eat good and feel good all season long.
Stick to Your Schedule
Everybody has a preexisting eating schedule that works best for their day-to-day life. Unfortunately, holidays can often get in the way of this tried and true routine. But still do your best to eat close to the same times as normal, this will help keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day.
You should also be sure to not skip any meals. This can be a challenge when waiting for a big dinner to be served, but even if you’re just able to squeeze in a snack, it’s better than eating nothing all day. If this happens, you’ll be so ravenous that you’re more likely to overeat when you finally do get food.
Enjoy the Food You Love
The holidays are a time for celebration, and you deserve to eat your favorites. Even if you’re on a diet, you can still take smaller portions of unhealthy foods. Part of the camaraderie and merriment of the season is sharing these tasty morsels, and you don’t have to miss out on all the fun!
When you do get a plate of what you love most, make sure to take the time to truly savor it. You might be tempted to eat it all up quickly, but you’ll be able to make the moment last longer and get a real taste for the flavors. Plus, eating more slowly is a great technique for recognizing when you’re full more quickly.
Focus Less on the Food
Yes, these winter holidays are very food-heavy, but there is so much else to enjoy! Try to engage with more than just the meals, other traditions can include playing games, watching a themed movie, or just catching up with loved ones. Taking a midday walk can also be a great way to break up the day with some light movement.
Another factor of the holiday season that often gets neglected is sleep. With so much excitement abuzz, it can definitely impact the rest you get at night. Sleep loss not only makes you more tired, but can also make it more difficult to manage your blood sugar, leaving you more susceptible to cravings. Aim for 7 to 8 hours each night.
Want additional holiday health recommendations? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention goes into even more detail.