Tips for Keeping the Holidays Healthy

The holidays can bring tons of joy and cheer with friends and family. It can also bring a lot of high calorie and high fat, holiday foods, drinks, and treats that can derail us from our healthy lifestyle. Now is the time to decide where you’d like to be (health-wise) come January 1st. While weight loss during the holiday is not impossible, aiming for weight maintenance over the next few months is a bit more realistic especially when you plan to enjoy some of those delicious and special, holiday wares.

During this festive season, do you monitor your food and drink choices? Maybe you balance some of the traditional seasonal foods with healthier options? Or are the holidays a time when all bets are off, and anything goes? While I wish I could say that calories don’t count during the holidays….they do; However, as one of my colleagues once said, “All foods fit.” You CAN enjoy the holidays and even include your favorite goodies and traditional foods and drinks.

Preparation Tips and Staying on Track

Get adequate sleep.

A common myth is that people can get by with less than 6 hours a night. You might be thinking, yep, I’ve been doing this for years. You might be getting less than 6, but not without potential health effects.

Manage stressors.

These past few years have presented us all with so many additional layers of stress. How are you managing yours? Looking for ways to manage stress? Read 5 Techniques to Reduce Stress. Sleep and stress often go hand in hand. If you’re stressed, it impacts sleep. If you’re tired, you may be more stressed or unable to manage stressors effectively as well as if you are rested.

Plan ahead.

If you know high calorie foods or drinks are on the menu for a planned event, choose healthier options for your other meals throughout the day. While it is usually a busy time of the year, meal planning is key to prevent unplanned fast-food stops. Even if you need to swing by a drive through, there are healthier options and sizes available at most restaurants. Another tip is to pack healthy snacks when you’re on the go.

Don’t forget about planning activity, too. Think of it as a standing appointment with yourself. You deserve time for your health – that’s practicing good self-care!

Bonus Strategies
  • Self-Monitoring. Weigh yourself to get your baseline weight. From here, either weigh in daily or weekly to check in with yourself. Choose either option and time to weigh in and stick with it – no matter what. Remember, the scale does not define you, it’s your accountability partner.
  • Keep your focus on the purpose of the holiday. If you are spending time with family and friends, enjoy the conversation. This is a twofer! It keeps you busy enjoying their company without extra calories.

Going into the holidays with a plan to balance traditional foods and beverages with healthy options is one step towards keeping your holidays healthy. Share your approach with family, friends, and co-workers to help with accountability and support. You may be surprised at how willing others are to encourage you in your journey of healthy living.

“Don’t let the urgent take precedent over the important.”

~Michael Hyatt

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!
Wendy W. Lynch


Adapted from an original post, Wellness with Wendy e-news (October 28, 2020). Author: Wendy W. Lynch
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Posted: November 20, 2021

Category: Health & Nutrition, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: #healthandwellness, #healthyholiday, #hoildays, #wendywlynch

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