We’re all at risk of poor decisions when it comes to what we eat during the holidays, but the holidays come with more risks to our health than just the food we eat.
From the added travel to the additional stress, the holidays can take a toll on your health. But with preparation and planning, you can enjoy the holidays without putting your health at risk.
We’ve put together a list of tips to help you stay healthy this holiday season.
Travel Tips for Healthy Holidays
From air travel to road trips, millions of people travel to visit friends and family each year. Whether your traveling by car, by plane or some other means, it’s important to be aware of the health hazards that can prevent you from enjoying your destination or return home.
Wipe away germs – If you’re flying, keep disinfecting wipes on hand. You’ll be able to quickly wipe away germs that have been left behind on tray tables and armrests, and of course in the bathroom. These areas don’t get properly disinfected very often.
Stay hydrated – Staying hydrated is always vital to staying healthy. Drinking plenty of water can give your immune system a boost and help you avoid getting sick. The low humidity at high altitudes makes the air in plane cabins dry and leaves your airways more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. Staying hydrated keeps mucus membranes moist to keep germs out.
Eating Tips for Healthy Holidays
With the holidays come bigger portions, more sodium, more sugar and more eating in general. We listed a few tips that can help you avoid some of the health problems that may hit when the holidays arrive.
Avoid excessive treats – It’s just about impossible to avoid treats altogether during the holidays and most people wouldn’t want too. But three pieces of pie is excessive and unnecessary. And just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you should be eating treats every day or after every meal.
Snack healthier – With all the additional calories from big holiday meals and holiday goodies, you’re going to be getting significantly more calories than necessary if you’re snacking on foods that just aren’t good for you too. Eat healthy when you’re eating between meals, pack fruit when you’re shopping or bring nuts to satisfy cravings while you’re at the mall to avoid eating something you’ll regret.
Get involved in preparations – Whether you’re bringing a dish to the party or helping others, if you’re involved make suggestions to help make sure the meal includes healthy dishes. Sign up to bring a dish and make something healthy so you can be sure there is at least one healthy option.
Make smart substitutions – When it comes to baking and cooking and even the drinks you’re drinking over the holidays, you can substitute out unhealthy options and ingredients for healthier ones.
Eat breakfast – It’s clear eating breakfast offers benefits anytime of the year, but the benefits seem to really stand out during the holidays. Studies have shown breakfast can help you eat a more nutritionally complete diet that’s higher in nutrients, vitamins and minerals, improves concentration and performance, lowers cholesterol and increases strength and endurance to engage in physical activities.
Watch for sneaky sugar – With all the goodies most people eat during the holidays, it’s important to watch out for the sneaky added sugar that can so easily creep into your diet. If you’re not aware of where sugar is hiding, you could unintentionally be binging on tons of sugar. Watch the sugar content in things like instant oatmeal, pasta sauce, smoothies, yogurt, breads, soups, granola and granola bars, nut butters, salad dressings and flavored water.
Fitness Tips for Healthy Holidays
Your activity level and fitness shouldn’t get pushed out of your priorities just because it’s the holidays. Keep up with your fitness with these tips for the holiday season.
Make exercise a priority – With everything that’s going on during the holidays, it’s easy to get out of your routine, for what seems like more demanding priorities. But don’t let the holidays ruin your fitness. Make getting exercise a priority as much as shopping, cooking or preparing for parties is and you’ll be more likely to keep your fitness level high despite the holidays.
Enjoy winter activities – Just because you can’t get to the gym during a packed day of festivities doesn’t mean you can’t get your exercise in for the day. Activities like sledding (think about how many times you’ll be running or walking uphill), ice skating or a good old fashion snowball fight can get your blood pumping and help you get the exercise you need.
Don’t skip walking – While the cold weather keeps more people indoors during the holidays, it shouldn’t be an excuse to avoid walking. Take a walk even if it’s a bit nippy outside. Just make sure to bundle up and watch for icy or wet surfaces. Walking is a great way to maintain your activity level while it helps to fight stress that is sure to come with the holidays.
Stress Tips for Healthy Holidays
There’s no denying the holidays can be stressful, and all that stress can take a toll on your health. Most of us don’t deal with stress in the healthiest of ways, but these tips can help you deal with stress better.
Get your sunlight – Getting sunlight will help fight seasonal affective disorder because it stimulates serotonin production to help you feel better. You’ll also be boosting your vitamin D, which stress can deplete because of cortisol.
Don’t be afraid to say, “no” – It’s easy to want to please everyone; after all it’s the holidays. But most of us go overboard and live to regret it. Take care of yourself by turning down requests, even if it’s just one this holiday season.
Put down you phone – With just about every buzz, beep or alert from your phone comes a small burst of adrenaline. That process can leave you feeling exhausted while it contributes to your stress. Turn off your gadgets and just enjoy the time you have with those around you.
Additional Tips for Healthy Holidays
With health hazards around just about every corner, it’s important to follow a couple additional tips for healthy holidays this year.
Wash your hands – Nobody wants to spend the holidays in bed because they’ve come down with the flu or a cold. Take time to wash your hands and carry antibiotic hand sanitizer with you to prevent some of the germs from bringing you down. Be sure to wash your hands before meals, after touching public surfaces and just regularly in general.
Get your rest – It’s easy to have more late nights during the holidays than you’re used to, but it’s important to get the sleep you need. Getting enough sleep will help you fight stress during the holidays, help you maintain your weight better, help you recover faster from illness; improve your memory and so much more.