With the holidays fast approaching, you likely have a list of events that you are attending with family and friends to celebrate together. While holidays all have deeper meanings, they are often centralized around food. These food-centric holiday celebrations can pose problems in a few areas: cooking for people with dietary restrictions and keeping your own health in check.
Cooking for a Crowd
According to the Boston Medical Center, an estimated 45 million Americans go on a new diet every year. This makes it tough to stay on top of your family and friends requirements – are they low carb? High fat? Low sugar? The list of different restrictions can go on-and-on, but don’t let potential dietary restrictions cause too much stress. When creating a meal for a crowd, it’s best to supply a variety of food options along with the classics. Offer healthy side dishes and if you know someone who follows a strict diet, ask them to bring a side dish to the party. That way you know that they will have an option that works for them and it takes the pressure off you.
Whether you are following a specific diet plan or just want to keep your healthy lifestyle going strong throughout the holiday season, there are four things that you should do to stay on track and avoid any post-holiday regret.
- Stay hydrated. Water is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and not only is it necessary for our bodies to function, but it can also help you stay on track with healthy choices. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, and during the busy holiday season, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water throughout the day. Have a reusable water bottle with you at all times, and if you really struggle with drinking water, set reminders on your phone and track your daily intake to hold yourself accountable.
- Allow indulgences. While this might seem counterintuitive, allowing small indulgences when you are craving a cookie or special holiday treat will prevent you from overindulging later on. This goes for alcohol too. Set a 1-2 drink limit per gathering if you plan to drink alcohol so you can stay hydrated and avoid feeling sluggish the next day.
- Stay active. Hectic holiday schedules make it easy to skip your normal daily movement, but breaking your healthy habits is the last thing you should do. Staying active during winter and the holidays greatly benefits your physical and mental health. Take a walk outside to get some sun and try a few of these at-home exercises to break a sweat and enjoy those endorphins!
- Plan ahead. Staying healthy at holiday parties starts before you even arrive. You might be tempted to skip a meal or eat less than normal before you attend the party, don’t do this! When you deprive yourself of food earlier in the day, you greatly increase the likelihood that you will over-indulge at the party. Make healthy choices leading up to the party and plan to continue that healthy pattern after you arrive. Stick to your normal portion sizes and opt for healthier food options at your celebrations too!
When you follow these four tips for staying healthy during the holiday season, you will feel better and be able to truly enjoy all of the joy that the holiday season brings.