Eating during the holiday season
The holidays are the time for seasonal parties and celebrations of all kinds. However, be wary that over-indulging and burning the midnight oil could jeopardize your health. This is the time of year when influenza and cold-causing rhinovirus come alive as well! In holiday gatherings, germs can quickly spread from one person to another and these common bugs thrive in the colder, drier winter air. ‘Tis the season for getting sick!
If you spent your summer and fall making good eating habits and exercising, don’t let the holidays put the brakes on your healthy lifestyle. Remember, once the new year and winter’s bite sets in, how hard it will be to get started again when the attraction of a warm duvet and movie marathons is so strong. So, what can you do? Avoid all parties and hit the treadmill each night? That’s not likely, nor absolutely necessary. Here are some tips to take you through the holidays without jeopardizing your health or saying “bah, humbug!” to all the festivities:
Instead of diving into that holiday cookie tray, be a smart cookie and decide if the treat is worth it. Choose what you want and indulge, but don’t go overboard. Don’t make the holidays all about sweets, as sugar overload can undermine your waistline and affect your immune system, making you more susceptible to falling sick. Avoid overeating by choosing what you really want and savour it. It takes the brain about 20 minutes to let you know you’re full so eat slowly.
Serve up healthy substitutes
You and loved ones can indulge without packing on the pounds when you serve healthy substitutes. Replace sour cream with Greek yogurt and swap heavy cheese dips for homemade hummus. Include vegetarian and vegan choices. Try colourful, fibre-rich, roasted winter veggies and fresh salads, instead of mashed potatoes and butter or a ham casserole. Roasted veggies are filling and can keep extra weight away, while also adding immune-boosting nutrients to your system. On your dessert table, offer bowls of festive tangerines, along with fresh mixed nuts in their shells.
Don’t neglect physical activity during the holidays. Exercise helps you decrease stress and relax. Bond with friends and family over long walks, taking a break from the festivities to enjoy each other’s company outdoors. Take youngsters tobogganing, skiing or even indoor skating, if winter weather doesn’t cooperate. During the holiday season, you may need or want to reinvent your usual workouts. But do make it to the gym, as you’ll be surprised to find it less busy, and you can take your time to try new things and have a few hours just to yourself. Your body will thank you!
Did you know that when babies are born they are made up of 75% water and then by the time they are adults, men are about 60% water while women are about 55%. We need to stay hydrated to maintain this ratio… and our good health. Drink plain or infused water (slices of cucumber or citrus fruit can make H20 more palatable) throughout the day.
Keep alcohol consumption in check
You can toast the holidays, but drinking to excess, is not healthy. Canada’s low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines say to reduce long-term health risks, you should consumer no more than two drinks a day, five times a week. Alcohol not only increases one’s appetite but also dehydrates. Sip smarter this holiday season. Keep in mind liquid calories add up quickly, so avoid rich drinks like spiked eggnog and those candy cane martinis. Instead opt for white wine or cranberry spritzers and drink water between each alcoholic drink to stay hydrated and slow down your drinking.
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