For many of us, the anticipation of the holidays can be both exciting and stressful. How can you survive all the shopping, decorating, family gatherings, and long hours in the kitchen? Use these simple strategies to help you get through the holiday season (or any celebration) free from stress and without adding to your waistline:
Do: Plan ahead. Grab a holiday drink and your calendar and schedule in all your events for the month. Include extra time for shopping, wrapping, and decorating. Make to-do lists, and create budgets. Most importantly, make time for yourself.
Don’t: Take home leftovers. Enjoy the meal at the party, but resist the doggy bag so you are not eating the rich and often high calorie foods twice.
Do: Learn to say no. Many of us over commit to functions then wonder why we are stressed and cranky. Choose events you are excited to attend, and don’t feel guilty for declining others.
Don’t: Skip out on sleep. Lack of sleep is linked to overeating, increased stress levels, forgetfulness, decreased libido and gain weight. Holidays are busy so choose a bedtime and stick to it. Power down electronics an hour before bed to optimize sleep.
Do: Use a small plate. This will give the illusion you are eating more while cutting calories. Fill your plate 3/4 full with greens and lean protein, then allow yourself the other 1/4 for indulgences.
Don’t: Sample everything at the buffet table. If you don’t love it, leave it. You won’t offend the host if you choose not to eat the sweet potato casserole or glazed carrots.
Do: Bring a healthy dish to the party. When choices are limited, you can always enjoy the food you’ve prepared.
Do: Hold onto your healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays be an excuse to undo what you have worked towards throughout the year. Indulge and enjoy, but keep up those good habits.
Don’t: Let alcohol get the best of you. Fill your glass halfway and sip your drink slowly. Alternate your cocktail with a glass of sparkling water can help prevent you from over consuming, over eating and will keep you hydrated.
Do: Acknowledge your feelings. The holidays can trigger feelings of sadness, and loss. Allow yourself to feel sad, then focus on gratitude and begin to create new, happy memories.
Don’t: Use food to cope with stress. When you find yourself mindlessly nibbling at the gingerbread house, step away and choose a constructive activity like going for a walk, deep breathing, or enjoying a relaxing bath.
Tis’ the season to be festive and allow yourself some indulgences. Just remember that balance and moderation are key to being healthy and happy during the holidays.
This healthy holiday treats will be a hit at your next gathering
Chocolate Coconut Truffles (makes approx. 20)
8 ounces pitted dates
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut
¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut, for rolling
Put dates, cocoa, 3 tablespoons coconut in a food processor and puree
until smooth. Form 1-inch balls and roll in remaining coconut. Chill in refrigerator.
By Michelle Stone, RHN. Body Design offers Personal Training, Nutrition and Yoga classes to assist individuals achieve their health and weight loss goals. You can reach Michelle at www.BodyDesign.ca