Tis’ the Season to be Healthy

Be mindful of your portions and to actively listen to your body about how full you are becoming
Be mindful of your portions and actively listen to your body about how full you are becoming

The holidays are back in full force! For most of us that means packed schedules, full plates, and our healthy lifestyle gets put on the back-burner. Here are 4 tips to help you keep up your health habits this season!

1)    Limit your liquid calories!
Holiday cocktails, beer, and non-alcoholic seasonal drinks are usually loaded with tons of sugar, fat, and calories! These drinks have little to no nutritional content to add to your diet, but they will add hundreds of extra calories!

Here’s what you can do: Make drinking water your first priority, and let yourself indulge in your favorite holiday drink occasionally. There is no guilt in indulging in moderation, but don’t over-do it! Try ordering a smaller size, or choosing a smaller cup. Remember to drink a cup of water before and after each drink!

2)    Choose appropriate portions!
Two simple ways to avoid overeating during the holidays are to be mindful of your portions and to actively listen to your body about how full you are becoming. Mindless eating leads to unnecessary calories, sleepiness, and feeling sick.

Here’s what you can do: Use a salad-sized plate instead of a dinner plate during meals. This can give the illusion of a fuller plate and help you manage serving sizes. Wait 10-15 minutes before going back for seconds! During this time, enjoy socializing with friends and allow your body some time to tell your brain that you’re full. Remember: if you decide you’re still hungry, you can always go back for more!

3)    Bring a tasty, healthy dish to potlucks!
During the holidays our nights and weekends are usually packed with friends, family, festivities, and of course food! At your next holiday potluck, opt out of bringing the same old bag of chips and dip. Instead, bring a dish that’s healthy, fresh, and delicious!

Here’s what you can do: Make the focus of your dish fruits and veggies! Find a quick recipe online or on Pinterest that is both within your budget and thematic. Your dish will be a conversation piece and the added nutrition will give everyone extra energy to enjoy the rest of the night!
a.    Dish full of fruit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/342906959102301001/
b.    Dish with veggies: http://taradaramadeit.com/ranch-seasongi/

4)    Treat yourself to exercise!
If the chaos of the holiday season is interfering with your regular workout routine, that doesn’t mean you have to give it up completely! Exercise is not only great for physical health, but also improves your mental health and puts you in a better mood! Around the holiday season, it is especially important to keep exercising!

Here’s what you can do:
•    Sign up for a holiday themed race such as a local Turkey Trot or Jingle Jog and bring family and friends! Try the San Diego South Bay Turkey Trot & Food Drive this Thanksgiving! Visit http://www.sdthanksgivingrun.com/ for more information.
•    Try a high intensity, short duration workout before a family gathering, and invite a relative to join! http://www.shape.com/fitness/cardio/hiit-holidays
•    Even if you don’t have time to make it to the gym, take a walk around the neighborhood after a holiday meal and include the whole family.

by Sharon Hughes, MPH Candidate, Health Promotion Graduate Assistant and
Katie Nelli, BS Candidate, Health Promotion Undergraduate Assistant

Resources:

http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/Healthy-Living/Weight-Management/Article-Viewer/Article/348/correct-portion-sizes-how-to-keep-portion-distortion-in-check.aspx
http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/

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