by Marsha Sendar, MSHS, NC, MSPT
Are you feeling both the excitement and the fear about the upcoming holidays?
About gaining weight over the next two months?
Fear not! Here are some simple strategies that can keep you energized and healthy while enjoying the holiday season:
* Start your day off with a nutrient dense breakfast that contains protein. Avoid cold cereals, fruit juices, pastries and other refined carbohydrate foods that stimulate sugar cravings later in the day. Choose a vegetable egg scramble; cooked whole oat groats or steel cut oatmeal with added raw almonds or walnuts; or a protein smoothie for healthy and sustaining breakfast choices.
* Keep fresh fruit in your home for a sweet treat. Persimmons, apples, and pears are delicious seasonal fruits that you can find now at local farmers markets (“Amagaki” persimmons are my favorite).
* Be the one who brings a delicious vegetable dish to a potluck dinner. Combining a dark leafy green like kale with some caramelized onions, dried cranberries, and pecans can create a healthy and delicious vegetable option.
* At holiday dinners, fill your plate up with vegetables and a protein. Keep portions of potatoes and gravies to small quantities.
* Eat slowly and savor the delicious foods that you can enjoy at holiday meals. Eat enough so that you feel satisfied, but not stuffed.
* Enjoy a small amount of dessert at your holiday meal celebrations. Keep your desserts to once or twice a week rather than eating them at every meal.
* Carry healthy snacks with you to work so that you can walk by that plate filled with candy and homemade cookies. Easy snacks to carry are a piece of fresh fruit and a bag of raw almonds, walnuts, or pecans. Or enjoy a few squares of dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) with a few nuts.
* Maintain your exercise program, or begin one by walking for 30 to 60 minutes at least four days each week.
* Prevent holiday burnout by incorporating some relaxing downtime into your days. Find time to include stress reduction practices like yoga, qi gong, or simple belly breathing into your day.
And enjoy a delicious and nourishing holiday season!
Marsha brings her love of delicious, health-promoting foods and her extensive experience and education in movement and exercise to her work. She translates the mass of science based nutrition information into practical knowledge that you can use in your daily life to maintain optimal health and vitality.