The holidays are here. I love the joy, decorations, and expectation this time of year. But staying healthy through the holidays can be a challenge. Because ’tis the season also for excess, stress, crowds, and poor eating habits – the perfect setup for illness and weight gain.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Yes, sometimes a cold virus can get you down no matter what you do. But I’m going to share a few things to help minimize the impact of those nasties and help you keep your weight under control while still enjoying the holiday fun.
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Stay Healthy Through the Holidays by Eating Better
I know eating healthier is a challenge no matter the time of year. This year is especially hard for me due to traveling every weekend to support my son’s football team. No matter how much you work out, it’s important to watch what you eat. I know this from experience. I exercise regularly and with a trainer but due to too many hot dogs and burgers at ballgames plus holiday food blogging I finally couldn’t button my jeans this week. UGH. 😒
In the winter I seldom want a cold salad or sandwich. Hot food is what I want and I’ll bet you do too.
Exchange those cold salads for hot, vegetable-laden soups. Try not to have too many cream-based soups because these tend to be pretty high in calories. Make a good beef and vegetable soup. Or simple chicken soup with lots of carrots, celery, parsnips, and peas. Bean soups are delicious and filling.
Grill or pan sear some chicken breasts bought in bulk and keep them in the fridge for quick, easy meals. Chop and store in the fridge all kinds of vegetables for sauteeing or roasting. Cook a big batch of brown rice to keep in the fridge to simply reheat for a side dish or for a quick breakfast when you don’t have time in the morning to cook.
My daughter Madeline posted on her Instagram stories her process for prepping healthy meals for busy days. She did a pretty good job and had fun sharing the process! I’ll share with you how she does it because we both prep the same way. 😊
Breakfast – A Great Meal to Change Up
One of the best meals to up the health quotient, though, is breakfast. The typical American breakfast is loaded with sugar and simple carbohydrates and lacking in nutrition. I’ve made a huge change in the way I approach breakfast.
Seldom do I have cereal. I treat cereal like dessert. It’s something to enjoy once in a while. My typical breakfast now is poached or boiled eggs and sauteed vegetables seasoned with a little lemon pepper or siracha.
Yes, I have broccoli for breakfast! 🙂 Cauliflower, cabbage, sweet potato, butternut squash, and summer squash all sautee quickly and pair well with eggs. It’s a filling breakfast that provides energy and nutrition without the sluggish feeling that comes with eating a sugary, carb-laden typical breakfast.
Sometimes I’ll have buttered toast with it. Sometimes I’ll sprinkle it with whole flax seeds.
To drink with my breakfast (after my morning coffee) I have a glass of home-brewed kombucha with 2 ounces of homemade elderberry syrup mixed in. The combination of kombucha and elderberry syrup not only tastes great, but it also provides probiotics and anti-oxidants and a host of vitamins and compounds for boosting immune health.
Chop vegetables ahead of time and keep them in the refrigerator to make preparing this breakfast quicker in the morning. Boil eggs, peel them and keep them in the refrigerator as well.
Poached eggs are quick to make. Crack open a couple of eggs and drop them into boiling water boiling them for 1 ½-2 minutes. When they’re solid enough, remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon.
Just a simple change to breakfast can yield some great health benefits.
While the holiday season is probably not the best time to embark on new fitness goals, getting regular exercise is very important. It helps with relaxation, boosts your immune system, clarifies thinking, and combined with healthier eating will help you avoid gaining those extra 10 pounds.
Unless the weather is dangerous, exercise outside is still possible and very enjoyable. Have you ever taken a snow hike? It’s wonderful and fantastic low-impact exercise. Snow does magical things to a landscape. Birds are easier to see. It’s fun to guess which critter made those tracks.
Find a hiking trail in a park near you, put on a pair of good boots and take a hike. I got these hiking boots last year and just love them. They’re insulated, get good traction, and are great for hiking in snow. Get a good down parka to stay warm while enjoying the winter outdoors. I wear this one. In deep snow, Muck Boots are perfect.
If you don’t have the time to exercise at a gym, consider online personal training and working out at home. I live 12 miles from the nearest gym and this is a great solution for me. Willpower Training offers online personal training and provides great support. Workouts are tailored to your needs and you can do them on YOUR time. The accountability keeps me from blowing off my workouts. Give it a try!
Diffuse and Clean with Tea Tree Oil in Your Home
Tea tree essential oil has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. Diffusing tea tree oil into the air in your home has a disinfecting effect on your air helping fight airborne viruses. It takes only 2-3 drops of tea tree oil in a diffuser to make a difference. Blend it with lavender or bergamot essential oils to add stress-relieving properties to your diffusion.
Use 5 drops of tea tree essential oil mixed with 5 drops each of lemon and lavender essential oils in about 6 cups of warm water for cleaning your home. This combination of essential oils disinfects, cuts grease, and leaves your home smelling clean and fresh without the chemical toxins of commercial cleaners.
Reduce Stress to Stay Healthy Through the Holidays
Easier said than done, right? It can be done.
First, decide what’s really important to you and your family for the holidays and say no to the rest. Make a plan with your spouse if you have one so everyone is on the same page. Some family and friends may express disappointment at your decisions. Be gentle, but firm and let them deal with it.
Play soft music in your home. I like jazz and soft piano music. It creates a relaxing atmosphere and helps everyone decompress from the day.
Turn off the TV. Laugh and play games with your family and friends instead. Sometimes what’s on the TV needs to just be shut off so you can chill out. Read a good book instead. It gives your mind something to do other than think about all that needs to be done or all that’s irritating you.
Use magnesium lotion or an epsom salt bath to help with relaxation. Magnesium helps you sleep and fights anxiety naturally.
Try some short, stress-relieving yoga flows to help you decompress after a hard day. I like Jen Hilman’s yoga flows on YouTube. Her voice is soothing and her stress-relieving flows are 20-30 minutes of ‘aaahhhhhhh…” I use a lot of her stretches to prepare for my workouts.
If You Feel Like You’re Coming Down with Something…
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you feel something coming on. When this happens, I take elderberry syrup and a zinc supplement twice a day instead of once. I also take Sambucol Elderberry Effervescent Tablets (a homeopathic cold-fighter) for an extra boost and get some rest.
Shop Here for Items to Help You Stay Healthy Through the Holidays
I’ve been in a different town every weekend since August. Following these steps keeps me from being sick in spite of being exposed to large crowds in new places. I’ll eat more vegetables and fewer carbs and before long my jeans will button again. 🙂
Staying healthy through the holidays means enjoying celebrating with family and friends. Don’t miss the fun because you’re sick! Enjoy the amazing food at your parties if you eat healthy the rest of the time!
Wellness begins at home and I wish you health and happiness,
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