Happy Holidays! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I know I did! It’s now officially time to get geared up for Christmas. I get so excited about parties and dinners and spending time with friends and family. But, I also have a tiny bit of dread along with it. An overindulgence here and there does not bother me but a month of them can leave us all feeling very bloated, sluggish and guilty! I want to share some of my favorite tips for making it through the holidays without feeling terrible and still having a BLAST!
Start your mornings out first thing with a large glass of water. We are more likely to get dehydrated during the holidays so drink plenty all day as well. I like to drink warm or room temperature water with ½ lemon squeezed in and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. The lemon boosts your immune system, aids your digestion system and the cayenne gets your metabolism going. I recommend trying the lemon water but plain water is great too.
Make sure that you begin each day with a super healthy breakfast. This is important all of the time, but even more so during the holidays when you have temptations all around. If you have a donut or bagel or cereal, you are more likely to be cranky and tired and experience more cravings for the rest of the day. Try and choose a breakfast that has some healthy carbs (fruits and veggies count), high quality protein and a little healthy fat. It will keep you satisfied much longer. One great start is a delicious green smoothie or oatmeal with fruit and nuts. My favorite way to have oatmeal is to make overnight soaked oats because there is no cooking and you can make several at a time and they are ready for you in the morning. Some of my other favorite breakfasts are sprouted grain toast (which you can find in the freezer section of most grocery stores) with avocado and a fried egg on top or a brown rice cake with almond butter and sliced banana.
Soup soup soup!!! I love soup! Make a big batch of soup that is heavy on vegetables on Sunday or 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 veggie soup 3 nights for dinner 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 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 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!
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 in moderation is very important to your health but I know it is harder during this festive season!
Do not give up on your exercise routine just because you are busy and it is cold outside. Even a brisk 30 minute walk will do wonders for your mood and stress and will motivate you to make better choices for the rest of the day.
If you are craving something sweet at night because visions of sugar plums are dancing in your head, try a cup of hot herbal tea (decaf) while you are sitting by the Christmas tree. It is so satisfying and good for you. Make sure you choose an organic brand because tea and coffee are often 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! You can also use the dates to sweeten smoothies.
Another favorite night time drink of mine is called Teecino. It is an herbal tea that tastes a little like coffee. I brew a cup and then put it in the blender with a tablespoon 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. Don’t be afraid of healthy fats like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, nut butters and avocados.
Don’t just give up and set yourself up for failure over the holidays. Plan ahead and you will feel amazing. If you eat or drink too much one day, just get up the next day and start fresh. I hope you all have a blessed holiday season. Enjoy and stay safe!