During the holidays, there are plenty of chances to indulge in rich food, snacks, sweets and alcohol. While it’s fun to have an excuse to splurge, it can also be challenging to keep your healthy habits on track during the holiday season. Here are six healthy holiday habits to get into so that when the new year comes around, your resolution(s) to live heathier will be easier to meet.
Set limits when eating out
It’s okay to enjoy a cookie or piece of candy at a party. It’s less healthy to enjoy a dozen. When you’re planning to attend a Christmas party, Hannukah celebration or other special event, make a deal with yourself that you can enjoy any food you want as long as you do it in moderation.
Eat before attending holiday gatherings
You’re less likely to overeat at an office party, school party or other gathering if you aren’t starving when you arrive. Keep your healthy habits on track by enjoying a meal with plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean protein and fiber before going anywhere that’s likely to have lots of unhealthy food. You can still enjoy a few bites of whatever the host is offering, but you’re less likely to go overboard.
Take healthier foods with you
Another healthy holiday habit is to not rely just on others to feed you. At any party where there will be food, ask if you can contribute a dish – then bring something that isn’t stuffed full of sugar and calories. The Live Naturally website has loads of ideas for flavorful yet healthier dishes such as Black-Eye Pea Fritters, Vegan Cream Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip, Grilled Polenta Bites and Vegan Blueberry Bliss Cheesecake Bars.
Watch those unhealthy holiday beverages
We don’t often think about it, but many of the beverages we enjoy are loaded with sugar, fat and calories. One healthy holiday habit is to watch what you drink and look for lighter versions when possible. Skip the whipped cream on the pumpkin spice latte. Enjoy one glass of eggnog instead of several. Alternate glasses of beer with at least one glass of water.
Don’t forget to exercise
Looking to keep your health habits on track this holiday season? Don’t forget to exercise! Just 30 minutes a day makes a big difference. When possible, work this healthy habit into your holiday routines. Walking to the store to buy gifts, vigorously cleaning the house before guests arrive and participating in an after-dinner game of flag football with visiting family members all count toward your exercise goals.
Find a healthy holiday habits buddy
Peer pressure can push you toward unhealthy eating, but it can be a positive influence on your healthy holiday habits as well. Ask your partner, child or friend to join you in a pledge to maintain healthy habits even over the holiday season. This will help you pause and restrain yourself before you dive into rich dishes in a holiday spread.