Tag Archives: stay healthy during the holiday

Healthy Holiday Hints

28 Dec

Hey readers!

I hope everyone isn’t suffering too bad from the post-Christmas lull. We still have New Years! I am in the process of finalizing my plans to go visit my friend Adrienne in Boston. What are you guys up to?

As I was going through my holiday break, I had to make a lot of adjustments to stay on a healthy track. My family is fairly active and we went on runs both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, their eating patterns are entirely different from mine. I used to eat just like they did – not eat all day and then have a HUGE lunch/early diner to make up for it. But that would leave me eating more than I wanted, giving me a bellyache, and completely throwing me off for that day and the day after. So I wanted to write to you guys letting you know how I navigated it this year and give you guys some, hopefully, helpful hints.

1. Eat throughout the day – the morning we went to the Bronx my family said we weren’t having breakfast and were going to wait til lunch. I knew that would leave me with low energy, starving, and pretty miserable. I used to think it would be great because I could get skinnier by eating less in my day, and one big meal would be enough to fill me. In the end, I ended up eating more, what I ate wasn’t that healthy, and I would feel awful. So I planned ahead this time. To accomodate myself, without burdening my family, I made a Sweet Breakfast Scramble the night before and put it in the fridge. In the morning, I grabbed it on our way out and ate it in the car.IMG_1654 I also snacked on a Raisin Bran muffin while we were waiting around noon. We ended up not eating til 3pm!! (Also our Christmas Eve dinner didn’t happen til 1030 pm). Remember, you can’t change how your family does things, but you can change how you react to it. Summary: have small healthy meals/snacks throughout your day to keep your metabolism moving and your appetite happy and balanced.

2. Keep up your consumption of fruits and vegetables – my family typically only makes one vegetable per meal. When I’m cooking for myself I’m eating 4-5 (on average)! This would be a big change in my diet. I planned ahead and went grocery shopping with my mom so I would have veggies and fruits on hand. With every meal, I always made myself a small side salad with a couple different vegetables in it. That way, I could still eat the meal my parents worked so hard to prepare, but could also make a little addition to it for myself.IMG_1718This was my side on Christmas Eve!IMG_1695This was my snack pre dinner when my family had a lot of cheese, vegetables in oil, and crab dip. While I tried little bites of everything, I made sure to snack on lots of veggies. (I cut up some yellow bell pepper too)IMG_1739Christmas Day my parents had cookies and coffee for breakfast, but I chose peanut butter and banana on wheat toast!

3. You can have it all, just not all at once – this is what I have read in Bethenny Frankel’s book Naturally Thin. She talks a lot about how your diet is like a bank account. How I interpreted it is similar to when you get a paycheck: you can’t blow it all right away. You have to save some so you can spend some. Think of your fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy as your savings account and your sweets, special entrees or favorite indulgences as your spending. If you spend the money overtime, you’re in a much more balanced, and better, financial situation. Same with sweets! If you spread them out overtime, and maintain a healthy lifestyle all the while, you can fully enjoy anything you want to eat! So when your family whips out 6 different desserts – pick your favorite and fully enjoy your portion. Or decide on a couple to try and enjoy your bites of each dessert. Either way, as long as you balance your meals throughout your day, dessert won’t knock you off the right track. I chose to have small desserts, since I knew I would be full from dinner, that way I could still enjoy a sweet but not feel totally over stuffed!IMG_1731

4. Try and be active any way you can – So your family may not go on group runs together on the holidays  – and that’s totally fine! Exercise can be 10 minutes of activity at once, repeated throughout the day. Let’s say your family has a dog. Volunteer to take them out for their walk or jog! If you live in a neighborhood with sidewalks, as a relative to join you on a walk (family time and exercise combination!) or take a walk if you need a break. Work on holding your plank in your room then do some push-ups, squats, alternating backwards lunges and repeat the circuit 3 times. Any way you can fit it in, even if it’s just 20 minutes, is great! It will keep your energy up and keep your metabolism moving helping you feel less sluggish and wiped out from all the holiday activity.

"Wanna go for a walk?"

“Wanna go for a walk?”

5. Enjoy everything and don’t beat yourself up! – Okay, so you ate a lot at dinner last night, and the cake looked too good to pass up. No problem! Did you enjoy it? Then it was worth it. Today’s a new day! Start fresh and have a great breakfast to start your day off on the right foot and tackle everything one step at a time. Remember, this is a holiday. It is a special occasion and you should treat yourself! Just don’t treat yourself every meal and everyday. Pick your favorites so you can have something to look forward to and motivate you to stay on track so you can enjoy it later! IMG_1672IMG_1691IMG_1682

6. Remember your goals/reasons for wanting to be healthy – it was easy for me to get wrapped up at Haley and Lauren’s holiday party and let go of all my progress on the appetizer table. I realized the more I was feeling guilty about it, the more I found myself going back to the snack table! Like I said, don’t beat yourself up and enjoy things! Once I started to move around the party and talk to more people, I found myself talking about my goals, my health blog and connecting with people on where we all are in our lives. One of my biggest goals is a balance. I mean this in every aspect of my life, even socializing! By balancing out how I was spending my time at the party, I began to naturally balance out what I was eating and found myself just enjoying the snacks and desserts I did pick. Having this blog be one of my goals also really helped when I was facing my family’s schedule. I knew what was important to me, so I was motivated to find ways to adjust my eating patterns so I could enjoy both my parents meals and stay on my healthy track (plus taking pictures of everything helps me stay accountable to myself, and you guys!)

7. Offer small suggestions to make dishes healthier – Okay, so your parents/relatives are in charge of the meal preparation so whatever they choose is what will be served. So you can’t have spaghetti squash instead of pasta, you can’t choose how much olive oil goes into the pan – don’t fret! When you can, try and offer small suggestions to change things up a little bit. For example, my mom wanted to make pancakes for everyone on Christmas morning. I asked my mom if we could get whole wheat pancake mix instead and it turned out my whole family loved how delicious they tasted! Now, your family may not be as open as mine, but you can also prep some of the batter on the side for yourself and ask the chef to toss on a few whole wheat ones for you! Or, if you don’t feel comfortable asking them to change their prep, bring a dish that you can contribute. Maybe a fruit salad for brunch, maybe a vegetable plate if it’s dinner. Whatever you feel comfortable with, there are plenty of ways to be flexible and creative with helping your holiday meals be a little healthier.

That’s what helped me stay on track this holiday. What are some of your tips or tricks for staying healthy during the holidays?

Here’s a few pictures from my Christmas as a little post-Christmas gift for all of you 🙂 IMG_1746 IMG_1748 IMG_1749 IMG_1750 IMG_1751 IMG_1752 IMG_1754 IMG_1755 IMG_1760 IMG_1762 IMG_1763 IMG_1767 IMG_1769

Until next time,

Natasha

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