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Staying Healthy during the Holidays

Staying Healthy during the Holidays

We’re fast approaching a time of year associated with family, friends, and indulgence! With the festivities and New Year looming, we can all benefit from continuing to take care of our health despite the temptation to neglect it for a few short weeks… Here are some workable tips to ensure you maintain good health and fitness during the holiday season in answer to five common and (sometimes) unavoidable scenarios.

Scenario 1: Visiting

Popping into family and friend’s homes and spending quality time is one of the many highlights of this time of year. However, it is inevitable that visitors get treated to lots of delicious seasonal food and drink. Even if we’re really trying to be good, we don’t wish to seem ungrateful or rude by refusing what our host has offered. And while it is OK to indulge in a little bit of sugary bliss (go on, you deserve it!), consuming too much refined carbs and sugar – or even rich savory dishes - can have undesirable consequences such as weight gain and higher blood sugar levels. So, what’s the alternative? Simple! Eat before you leave: prepare a nutritious and healthy meal before you go visiting to ensure you’re not hungry and can happily enjoy a few little treats with more control. 

Take away: Don’t go out hungry

Scenario 2: Hosting

So, what happens when you are the host? Inviting your guests over is exciting but can be stressful as we always want to make sure they have the most wonderful time. Also, your guests will be expecting some tasty nibbles so going totally healthy may not be the most advisable course to take! Happily, this situation is far easier to control. Why not create more nutritious alternatives for your festive menu? There are a multitude of blogs and vlogs crammed with ideas and step-by-step recipes to transform sugar-rich foods into wonderful sugar-free, gluten-free, or even vegan alternatives. Then, sit back and enjoy the praise from your guests who will also be relieved to know that their health is being protected too.   

Healthier Treats

Take away: Get creative and make healthier versions of festive treats.

Scenario 3: Eating out

This is a tricky one… dining out with family and friends is always a treat and often a time when we suspend our diet regime to thoroughly enjoy the culinary experience! It’s also not common for restaurants to provide a choice of healthier options for popular festive dishes (I’m with you, coeliac friends!). This results in us having to order something we know is either bad for us or will make us react in some way. Well, there isn’t a lot you can do other than research the menu of the place at which you’re due to dine. Don’t hesitate to drop an email or call them to ask if what alternatives they could prepare ahead of time. Many eateries will be happy to try to accommodate your needs and even get a bit creative, provided they have prior knowledge of your expectations. Bon appetite!  

Take away: Do your research and ask for what you want

Scenario 4: Abandoning the schedule

This is arguably the most common pitfall of the holiday season (and often starting mid-December) particularly for those with children! Abandoning your schedule during the school holidays means getting up and staying up later, as well as losing the structure of specific mealtimes and nutritious meal plans. The results of this are often an increased amount of fast food or deliveries, irregular (and later!) mealtimes, and not making the usual time for exercise….Lack of physical activity increases health risks like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Not only that, but fitness lost is difficult to regain… It is far easier to maintain it than to start all over again in January.

Take away: Make sure to exercise as normal

Scenario 5: Staying up late

Benefits of Rise and Sleep Early

Good sleeping patterns are massively important to good health. However, with parties taking place and visitors coming and going, it’s inevitable normal sleeping hours will be disrupted. However, with a little forethought and better planning the disruption could be minimal. Make sure you plan your outings in advance and choose earlier options for dinner or activities so you can return home (and go to bed) at a reasonable hour. If you’re inviting guests to your home, start welcoming them earlier in the day, and don’t be afraid to indicate when the party will finish on the invitation. These days, most people are health and time-conscious and will probably appreciate this a lot!

Take away: Rise early and sleep early

So, there are our five common festive scenarios and five tips to take away… Let’s do our best to stay healthy this December!