Monday, December 18, 2017

Healthy Holiday Tips

Holidays are usually full of people, sounds, smells, and lots of expectation.
Having a healthy holiday for me means coming out the other side refreshed
and reflective. But let’s face it, being parents during the holidays is like going
on “vacation” with the kids, the expectation is actually exhaustion and stress.
It’s a shame really, and this year I’m fighting the inevitable with some mental,
spiritual, and physical holiday health tips.

1.Don’t try to lose weight during the holidays. It’s like going to a wake and
trying to stay sober. It isn’t that you can’t do it, but I’m 99% sure you can’t do it.
Just aim not to gain.

2. Eat lots of healthy “fillers” before the main course. Fillers are foods high in fiber.
Lucky for us, collard greens, mustard greens, kale and a host of other dark leafy
greens are still growing as we speak. Eat your colorful salads and fresh veggies
without the dips and sauces, to leave less room for the higher calorie
(unnecessary energy) foods.

3. Limit your beverages. Especially with alcohol, drinks hide a host of calories
and fail to fill. Choose water or tea now and then.

4. Have one, not three. ‘Nuff said.

5. Plan to indulge. Don’t let holiday treats sneak up on you. There will be treats at
Mom’s house, treats at the office, treats at the holiday parties, not to mention the
treats you bring into the house. Choose a few place you plan to indulge and plan
on healthy choices at the other events.

6. When in doubt, less bread, more vegetables, less salt, more spices.

7. Eat hearty meals and avoid snacking.

8. Eat a fine breakfast.

9. Shop in the early morning with your whole brain. Stock your fridge and pantry
with healthy, delicious options like sweet fruits, cheesy eggs, and toastable,
crunchy whole grains and nuts.

10. Eat before you depart. Headed out for some holiday merry-making?
Eat a healthy snack before you go to avoid noisy, distracted overeating.

11. Start your day out with a large glass of clean, cool water, and carry your water
bottle with you when you leave the house. Aim for ½ to a gallon of water, daily.
Your body will thank you.

12. Remember, it takes 3500 extra calories to gain one pound. Before you think
that sounds like a lot of calories and breath a sigh of relief, let me also remind you
how easy it is to reach that number (especially in the sugary, buttery, saucy holiday
throes) so you can plan accordingly. Keep in mind that these numbers are for single
6 oz. red wine- 145 kcal
Bottle of beer- 154 kcal
Piece of pizza- 285 kcal
Piece of pumpkin pie- 323 kcal
Gingerbread cookie- 101 kcal
Brownie- 132 kcal
One cup of mashed potatoes- 214 kcal

No need to obsess, but take responsibility for what you are eating, even
during the holidays. If you don’t know the energy value of your meals, find out.
It’s never been easier to educate yourself.

13. Buffet? Choose a small plate.

14. Choose hot beverages that take time to finish.

15. Eat mindfully, using all of your senses.

16. Pay careful attention to the feeling of fullness.

17. Pause before eating to take a deep breath and give thanks. Food is a gift.

18. Don’t multitask during meals. Eating is important and should have your full attention and intention to be enjoyed with people who are important to you.

19. Ditch distracting and detracting technology, especially during meals.

20. Consider early to bed and early to rise. This is the best way to get in personal time during the busyness of holidaying.

21. Say “no” to some invitations and events in favor of important family or personal time.

22. Add relaxing things to your “to-do” list. Purposefully do less (“have a cup of hot tea and contemplate the coming months”).

23. Reset for the new year. Set your sights ahead.

24. Underschedule yourself.

25. Schedule in special one-on-one time with each of your kids.

26. Schedule your workouts.

27. Walk, hike, and play active games with family and friends every day.

28. Get outside every day.

29. Try to rise before the sun every day and catch the first rays.

30. Laugh it up. Watch funny movies, play funny games. Laughter is one of the best stress-relievers out there, it’s free, and anyone can do it.

31. Smell citrusy smells. Enhance your mood and manage stress by diffusing essential oils in your home.

32. Don’t shoot for perfection, shoot for simplicity.

33. Turn up the tunes. Listen to an array of music. Music that makes you dance, relax, and sing.

34. Get intimate. Reconnect with your spouse by scheduling (if necessary) special time. This is also a great stress reliever and a wonderful way to start out the new year. Most people don’t think of sex this way, but a solid marriage bond is one of the best things you can do for your kids.

35. Don’t try to please everyone. There are some people in your life who are priorities, and you are duty-bound to serve them first. Don’t fuss over the others.

36. Forget the negatives of the past.

37. Don’t over-think it.

Parents, I know it feels necessary for survival sometimes, but try to turn off the
autopilot and be present and in the moment this season. Not only will you be
opening yourself to forging stronger bonds with your family, but you will recenter

The goal this season is to enter and exit with our mind’s eye wide open. Insist on
personal time to seek silence and prayer. Pray for your children, pray for your
spouse, pray for the world (Divine Mercy Chaplet). Don’t underestimate the
importance of your own mental and spiritual health.
Give your best self to your family this year.

Mother and Child Photo by on Unsplash
Toast and Tea Photo by Brenda Godinez on Unsplash 
Rosary Photo by Fischer Twins on Unsplash
CitrusPhoto by Israel Egío on Unsplash 
Christmas Coffee Photo by Mira Bozhko on Unsplash

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