Yippee! The Holidays are here! I get so excited about parties and dinners and spending time with friends and family. (and eggnog martinis!) But, I also want to continue to feel my best. An overindulgence here and there does not bother me but a month of them can leave us all feeling very bloated and sluggish. I want to share some of my favorite tips for making it through the holidays without feeling terrible and still having a BLAST!
WATER WATER WATER! Each morning, right after you wake up, drink a large glass of water before you have anything else. We are more likely to get dehydrated during the holidays so drink plenty of water all day as well. I drink a glass of warm or room temperature water with ½ lemon squeezed in and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper every morning. The lemon boosts your immune system, aids your digestion and the cayenne gets your metabolism going. Getting sick during the holidays is no fun!
BREAKFAST. Make sure that you begin each day with a healthy breakfast. This is super important during the holidays when you have temptations all around. If you have something with refined carbs and sugar like a donut, bagel or cereal, you are more likely to be cranky and tired, have a sugar crash late morning and experience more cravings for the rest of the day. Choose a breakfast that has some healthy carbs, high quality protein and a little healthy fat. It will keep you satisfied much longer and help you make better choices for the rest of the day. I love to start my day with a delicious green smoothie or oatmeal with fruit and nuts. My favorite way to have oatmeal is to make overnight soaked oats – no cooking, just make up a few jars and they are ready in the morning. Some of my other favorite breakfast options are gluten free or sprouted grain toast with avocado and a fried egg on top, sautéed veggies and eggs or a brown rice cake with almond butter and sliced banana.
SOUP. I love soup! Make a big batch of soup that is heavy on vegetables at the beginning of the week and eat it for lunch or dinner several more times that week. It is so easy to make, so delicious and can be extremely light and filling. If you eat healthy homemade soup 2 or 3 nights for dinner during the week and then drink eggnog martinis on Friday, you’ll feel much better about your choices. TRUST ME, I know from experience. Two of my favorites are Creamy Butternut Squash Soup and Quinoa Vegetable Soup. Did I mention how much I love soup?!!
EAT BEFORE THE PARTY. Eat something substantial before you go to a party. I know you’ve heard this advice before but have you ever really tried it? It is awesome! You are probably in the mindset of not wanting to eat to save the calories for the party but try looking at it a different way. Eat a big salad or veggie wrap or a bowl of soup before the party and then you will be much more content to have less party food because you are not starving. It really helps!
ALCOHOL. If you drink alcohol, try drinking one glass of water between each alcoholic drink. Talk about a dramatic difference in how much alcohol you drink AND how you feel the next morning. Remind yourself you are going to do it before you get to the party or you’ll get caught up in the moment and totally forget about it. Hmmmm I might have experienced that one too. Drinking only in moderation is very important to your health and I know it is harder during this festive season!
EXERCISE. Do not give up on your exercise routine just because you are busy and it is cold outside. A brisk 30 minute walk will do wonders for your mood and stress and it will motivate you to make better choices for the rest of the day. You will sleep better at night too.
SLEEP. Many people don’t get enough quality sleep all year round but especially during the holidays. Getting enough sleep is SO important to your overall health. More important than most people realize. Make it a priority to get 7-8 hours every night. There are many things that affect sleep – some of them are things on this list! It helps to get enough exercise, reduce stress and don’t drink too much alcohol. Also, keep your bedroom very cool, stay off electronics for an hour before bed and keep your cell phone out of your bedroom while sleeping. If you use it for an alarm, please put it on airplane mode. The alarm will still work and you won’t get radiation while you sleep.
SWEETS. You are probably going to eat more sweets during the holidays which will lead you to crave more. (remember sugar is more addictive than cocaine) Have a small amount of something delicious when you are at a party but on the nights when you are home, keep it healthy. Try a cup of hot herbal tea while you are sitting by the Christmas tree. Peppermint is yummy this time of year. It is so satisfying and good for you. Choose an organic brand because tea and coffee are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Having hot tea can help you wind down and sleep better. If you want a little sweet treat to go with it, try buying dates in the produce department, take the pit out of one and spread a little almond butter in it. Tastes like candy – soooo good!
Or make healthy hot chocolate. Just put one cup of organic whole milk or almond milk in a small saucepan. Whisk in 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon real maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Keep whisking until well blended and hot.
Another favorite night time drink of mine is called Teeccino. It makes a tasty “Latte”. It is an herbal tea that tastes a little like coffee. I brew a cup and then put it in the blender with one teaspoon of coconut oil and one teaspoon of honey. Blend for about 30 seconds, pour into a mug and top with cinnamon. I know the oil sounds weird but it doesn’t make the coffee oily at all. It just makes it creamy and frothy. Yummy! Contrary to what you may have heard about coconut oil, it is a healthy fat that helps keep you satiated. Some other benefits include helping to balance blood sugar and hormones and helps burn fat.
Enjoy this precious time with friends and family. Cheers to Healthy Happy Holidays!