Healthy Holiday Habits

Celebrations during the holiday season add numerous tasks to our everyday “to do” lists. Shopping, cleaning, decorating, wrapping gifts, entertaining, and traveling are just a few of the many things we do to prepare for and enjoy this busy season. However, let’s not forget the most important task that should be included on your list – taking care of your health.

Avoid overeating.

Overeating is a common way to celebrate. However, let the turkey be the only one stuffed. At the end of the holiday season you will be glad you did!

  • Don’t skip meals – you’ll be even hungrier and more likely to over eat.
  • Avoid second helpings of food. Allow your body time to digest the food you have eaten before you serve your plate a second time. Say “thank you” but don’t take those high-calorie, high-fat leftovers home with you.

Adopt healthy habits and serve them when you host a party.

  • Serve a veggie tray with light dip for a low calorie food that will fill you up!
  • Use smaller plates. Guests are more likely to reduce their portion!
  • Cut desserts into smaller pieces and encourage guests to sample.
  • Serve low calorie or no calorie beverages such as unsweetened tea, diet sodas or sparkling water with lime.

Be active.

Activity offers numerous benefits such as weight control, stress reduction, and increased energy level. The following tips are ways to be active during the holidays:

  • If finding 30 to 60 minutes in your daily schedule is difficult, consider breaking up your exercise into smaller sessions. Three 10 minute walks taken morning, lunch and after dinner are beneficial.

Why should I exercise?

Increased physical activity can lead to a longer life and improved health. Exercise helps prevent heart disease and many other health problems. Exercise builds strength, gives you more energy and can help you reduce stress. It is also a good way to curb your appetite and burn calories.

Who should exercise?

Increased physical activity can benefit almost everyone. Most people can begin gradual, moderate exercise on their own. If you think there is a reason you may not be able to exercise safely, talk with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. In particular, your doctor needs to know if you have heart trouble, high blood pressure or arthritis, or if you often feel dizzy or have chest pains.

What kind of exercise should I do?

Exercises that increase your heart rate and move large muscles (such as the muscles in your legs and arms) are best. Choose an activity that you enjoy and that you can start slowly and increase gradually as you become used to it. Walking is very popular and does not require special equipment. Other good exercises include swimming, biking, jogging and dancing. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking instead of driving may also be a good way to start being more active.

How long should I exercise?

Start off exercising 3 or more times a week for 20 minutes or more, and work up to at least 30 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week. This can include several short bouts of activity in a day. Exercising during a lunch break or on your way to do errands may help you add physical activity to a busy schedule. Exercising with a friend or a family member can help make it fun, and having a partner to encourage you can help you stick to it.

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