The holidays are right around the corner, which means it’s time for all those wonderful holiday parties, complete with a wide range tasty treats, delicious dishes, and luscious libations. It also means that it can be quite easy to lose sight of your health goals and best practices. Besides, one more plate of food and another drink won’t hurt anyone – right?
We’re not going to recommend that you abstain from all of the wonderful food that will no doubt be on display at homes and workplaces for the next several weeks. That would be silly, since this really is a time for celebration with family and friends. Instead, we’ve gathered up 9 helpful tips to help you stay healthy while still enjoying yourself at the holiday parties you’ll attend. Because no one wants to be the party pooper who stays on their best behavior.
1) Drink a Minimum of 4 Cups of Water per Day
That’s right – you really should consume 4 cups, or 2 quarts, of water a day (which is about 2,000 mL for you folks on the metric system). Staying hydrated helps your overall health, fills your stomach to prevent extra snacking, and assists with good digestion. While you can certainly add some fruit into your water to give it some flavor, drinking sports drinks instead of water isn’t a good idea, as those drinks are packed with sugar.
2) Eat 2 – 4 Servings of Fruit per Day
Why? Because fruit is good for you. If you’re the type of person with a sweet tooth, the natural sugars in fruit are better for you than the processed stuff you get from supposedly “healthy” snacks like granola bars (not to mention candy).
3) Eat 4 – 8 Servings of Vegetables per Day
It’s true – you really DO need to eat your veggies before you leave the table at meal time. The vitamins and nutrients you get from vegetables simply aren’t found in the other foods in your diet. Just be sure to include a balance of colors in the vegetables you eat to bring variety to your plate!
4) Eat 1 – 2 Lean Meats per Day
Sure, turkey and chicken aren’t as sexy as bacon, but they’re bit better for your heart health in terms of lowering your cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium intake. This is also an opportunity to look for new and interesting sources of protein than eating meat.
5) Eat Out Less
Yes, going out to eat is fun – not only do you get to explore the culinary wonders around your city, you don’t have to do the dishes! But eating out (and this includes ordering takeout you eat at home) can wreak havoc on your budget and good eating habits because of the larger-than-necessary portions served at many restaurants. Instead, explore your kitchen by recreating your favorite dishes at home!
6) Plan Your Menu Weekly
It’s easier to take charge of your diet when you fix your meals in bulk from ingredients you purchase yourself. You’re less likely to eat out at lunch when you bring your food from home or when you plan your grocery shopping around the dishes you want to make for dinner. And just because you’re planning in advance doesn’t mean your meals get stuck in a rut – just the opposite! It’s easier to experiment with new foods when you plan out what you’re going to eat around what you buy at the grocery store.
7) Do 30 Minutes of Physical Activity Daily
Yup. Even when you’re eating as well as possible throughout the holidays, you still need to get in some regular exercise. No, you don’t have to get a gym membership to make this happen – just try some stretches, a brisk walk in your neighborhood, or climbing a few sets of stairs around the office. What matters is doing something active on the regular to get your heart pumping to counteract the increased caloric intake.
What suggestions do you have for staying healthy while still enjoying all those holiday parties? Please share with us in the comments!