So many holiday health tips seem aimed at squeezing all of the joy out of the season. Everyone suggests things like “just sip water and bring your own celery sticks to those festive parties!” It feels like most holiday health tips either offer advice to go wild, or they shame you for not being perfect enough. And honestly, I think it’s time for a new perspective.
The holidays are a time to connect and rejoice, and even indulge a little bit. But the real key to enjoying the season from a health perspective is balance. Balance is a mindset. A choice. One that can carry you through the holidays — and beyond.
Here are my secret holiday health tips that will help you stay nicely balanced between holiday indulgence and your health — without having to carry a bag of celery with you everywhere you go (or a bunch of guilt on your shoulders).
Healthy Eating For The Holidays
It’s taken me many years to find a place of balance and peace with food. And I will admit, I’m still not always perfect. You don’t have to be either. The real trick is to just maintain forward momentum. Some days you will take a step back — and then the next day you can take two steps forward. And that’s OK!
Remember, every tiny choice you make to improve your health adds up. You don’t have to always do all the things all at one time.
Also one of my favorite healthy tips for the holiday season has more to do with your mindset than what you eat and it’s this:
When you focus on positivity, more positivity comes into your life. So when you slip up over the holidays and indulge in something that isn’t “perfect” — don’t beat yourself up too much. Find the positivity in the situation and focus on that. Maybe you only had one cookie instead of the three you might usually have. Yay for you! Celebrate that amazing feat, girlfriend, and watch how much easier it is to whip out that willpower next time.
Is It Normal To Gain Weight Over The Holidays?
So, while you don’t want to bring an ounce of shame or guilt to your diet (during the holidays or ever!) you also want to avoid holiday weight gain, right? Nobody wants to look down on January 1st and see a bunch of extra weight they now need to lose.
But, while weight gain during holidays can be a problem. It may not be as big of a problem as you might think. There are a few older studies that indicate average weight gain during holidays is anywhere from .48 to .66 kgs (more than one pound). (1,2)
Which is great news, depending on how you look at it. This means that most people, even when they indulge a little bit, are not gaining 5, 10, or 20 pounds. They are only gaining a pound or so. That’s not ideal, especially if you’re seeing that weight gain accumulate over the course of several years — but it’s not an insurmountable obstacle to shed that weight if you’re only trying to lose one pound.
How To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
Now, I know you might be reading this and thinking, “One pound? Seriously? That has not been my experience over the holidays! I gain way more than that.”
And that is likely because you’re in perimenopause or menopause, a time when your fluctuating sex hormones and cortisol and insulin are wreaking havoc on your weight.
So all you have to do is walk by a room filled with baked goods and suddenly you can’t button your jeans. All of the research in the world can’t invalidate your personal experience. And I know, because it’s been my personal experience, too.
This is why I like to lean heavily on my Keto-Green® Shake. It’s a powerful superfood blend that’s packed with ingredients that help support your body and keep you feeling full for hours. It helps deliver nutrients that most menopausal women are lacking in, and that in turn works some serious magic in the weight loss department.
Healthy Holiday Cooking Tips
When it comes to healthy holiday eating tips, again, I believe in balance. Some recipes might be worth slipping a little on your diet this year. After all, food is a big part of bonding with your family and friends — and that’s important.
But other recipes might benefit from substitutions you won’t even notice — so you can enjoy traditional flavors without compromising your health.
Here are a couple of easy substitutions that will lighten up your holiday foods without subtracting flavor:
- Try substituting cauliflower for potatoes or rice. When you pair cauliflower with a healthy fat like olive oil, it tastes just as rich and satisfying as potatoes do (I’d say even more so!) and you can save your carbs for something that you really want. Seriously, if you haven’t tried mashed cauliflower yet, you need to.
- Why not use almond flour or coconut flour in place of white flour in recipes for holiday cookies, cakes, and breads? These flours are much more nutritionally valuable to your body than plain white flour and turn indulgences into healthier choices that keep you feeling fuller, longer.
Holiday Nutrition Tips
The important thing to remember during the holidays is balance and moderation. So often, we’re taught to try to be perfect 99% of the time so we lose our minds when faced with foods we love but we know aren’t great for us.
But instead, if you approach eating from a place of balance, you allow yourself grace. You can understand that you don’t need to eat sackfuls of cookies because it’s your one and only chance to indulge.
How do you do that?
Don’t let yourself get too hungry. Nourish your body with healthy fats, vegetables, and protein so you aren’t starving when the tray of goodies is passed around. My favorite preemptive strategy is to make sure I’m drinking at least one serving a day of my Keto-Green® Shake. It’s packed with so many nutrient-dense foods that I never feel starved or have out-of-control cravings. It helps me stay balanced so I can say “yes” to the foods I choose to indulge in and “no” to overeating sweets.
And remember this: one small slice of pie tastes just as good as two huge slices. If you truly savor and enjoy your meal, you don’t need to eat more to feel satisfied.
Holiday Mental Health Tips
When we’re thinking about holiday health advice, it’s important to not forget about your mental health.
The holidays can be a difficult time for so many people. It’s not always all about holly-jolly festivities for everyone, every year. If that’s you this year, be sure to give yourself space and grace.
And then there’s the stress and strain that we all feel when it comes to the pressure of creating happy holiday memories for our families. The cooking, the planning, the shopping. It’s so much stress on your shoulders.
Bottom line: stress isn’t good for your mental health, your hormones, or your body. So how do you keep it at a minimum this time of year?
- Remember to take care of yourself first. I know that as women we don’t get permission to do that often, but it’s so very important. You are not selfish or self-centered for attending to your needs first and then the needs of others.
- Lean into balance. Think about past cherished holiday memories. Do you remember if your tree had the exact perfect ratio of tinsel and lights? Or do you think about the warm feeling of spending time with the ones you love? Try to let go of the perfectionism and just live in the moment this year.
I Hope You Enjoyed My Holiday Health Tips!
You have so much power to stay healthy during the holidays.
Just remember, as with any wellness tips for the holiday season, take the advice that feels right for you, leave the rest, and just enjoy yourself as much as you can.
My biggest takeaway? Don’t starve yourself in the name of weight loss. Keep your body nourished with high-quality foods and don’t skimp on the healthy fats!
I’m always rooting for you and wishing you the merriest holiday season ever.