10 Healthy Hacks for the Holiday Season

By Director of Product Development & Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

Let’s face it, the next few weeks will be filled with some beautiful moments and memories, but they can definitely derail your fitness goals.  Staying healthy during the holiday doesn’t have to be all work and no play, though.

Here are a few of my favorite holiday hacks to make the season a little merrier:

Do This: Go on a walking tour to see the holiday lights.
Not That: Load up in the car and drive around to see the lights while munching on cookies and sipping cocoa.

I love the holiday lights and the best way to really see them is on foot! Slow down and soak up the glow while you get in a few more steps.

Do This: Use a smaller plate at holiday gatherings.
Not That: Pile up a big ol’ platter because your eyes are bigger than your stomach.

This is a great way to trick your brain into thinking that you are eating more than you actually are!  And remember when you fill your plate to start with the veggies and protein. That will leave less room for over-doing the starchy carbs. Also, remember that you don’t have to clean your plate! You might have to remind grandma that you are an adult and you CAN have dessert, even if you didn’t eat everything on your plate. 

Do This: Unplug and get outside to play.
Not That: Sit on the couch all day watching football and eating leftovers.

Play something!  Have fun! Move around and get the kids involved. Shoot some hoops, build a snow fort, go on a winter scavenger hunt, go sledding or even golfing. . .  If the weather is a little frightful, head to the bowling alley or roller rink for some old-fashioned fun.

Do This: Volunteer Service
Not That: Binge-watch holiday movies

Chances are you have watched those movies so many times you have them memorized. Why not make new memories by volunteering at the animal shelter or helping an elderly neighbor put up their Christmas decorations.  You could also check with your local senior center or assisted living facilities about playing bingo with the residents.

Do This:  Plan gatherings around activities
Not That:  Focus entirely on the food

Of course, food is a big part of every gathering this time of year, but why not plan an activity while you are planning the menu? When the meal is over, keep your hands busy with a craft project or break out the board games. 

Do This:  Get up 30 minutes earlier for a quick morning workout
Not That:  Skip your evening workout because you are busy or tired from the holiday bustle.

You are busy!  Your workouts will take a backseat to EVERYTHING else. Pick two days each week and start the day with a quick sweat session to make sure you get in a few workouts.

Do This:  Experiment with healthier holiday recipes
Not That:  Dump tons of sugar and fat into your favorite holiday traditions.

Grandma’s recipe may be a family tradition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try a few healthier swaps to make it a little less naughty. Try cutting back on the sugar and using some applesauce in baked goods. Consider using plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in your favorite dips and sauces. You might even replace some of the shortening/butter with avocado. Just be sure to test the recipe ahead of time.

Do This: Choose special homemade treats.
Not That: Indulge in store-bought goodies.

With so many amazing treats, this is not the time of year for packaged snacks like chips, cookies, and pastries. They probably aren’t worth it any other time of year either, but definitely not worth it throughout the holidays!

Do This:  Do something active every day, even if you only have a few minutes
Not That:  Subscribe to the all-or-nothing attitude of working out.

Even if you can’t fit in your regular workout, something is better than nothing!  Be flexible with the what, where and when. It may help to focus on “minimizing your inactivity” this time of year.  Do pushups while each batch of cookies is baking.  Hop up and get in a few squats during commercials or try a Christmas-even dance party.

Do This:  Say “No.”
Not That:  Allow stress, anxiety, and obligations to over-shadow the holiday magic.

Fit3 is about choices and so is this season.  It’s okay to say “no” when things get too hectic. Use your time and energy to do the things that bring you joy and nourish your soul.

Remember to make good choices this holiday season, and your body and spirit will thank you in the New Year! Happy holidays, everyone!

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