Let me first start by saying physical health is just as important as mental health. Sometimes, eating that dang piece of brownie with 2 scoops of ice cream and whipped cream on top is exactly what I need to stay mentally healthy. Other times, it’s best if I just blend all the veggies in the fridge and shove it down my gullet. How can I tell the difference? Self-awareness.
Here are my top five tips for staying healthy and striking that perfect balance tomorrow.
Eat a nutritious breakfast
Maybe your holiday tradition is to wake up and have cinnamon rolls with extra frosting on top. Don’t give that tradition up. Breakfast, lunch dinner, whatever – make one meal nutritious. Chances are you don’t have a food-related tradition for each meal of the day. Aim to include non-starchy vegetables ( lettuce, kale, broccoli, peppers), whole grain fiber, lean protein, fruit, and a low/non-fat dairy source. A perfect example would be 2 eggs scrambled peppers and onions, a slice of whole grain toast, 1 serving of fruit and a glass of low-fat milk.
Try to sneak in some greens whenever possible
It’s not as hard as it sounds. It might require some strategy, though. Look for a nearby grocery and grab a pack of pre-made salad or chopped veggies. Swap out the chips just this once for a handful of carrots or sliced cucumbers. Some ideas for sneaking in greens are smoothies (fill with spinach or kale), omelets or egg hashes (oh yeah, breakfast casseroles are my JAM), or eat a large green salad for lunch and call it a day.
Eat exactly what you want
Yup. I mean it. Eat only the thing you’re craving. Don’t just eat to eat. So let me give you an example. My craving for a really nice brownie with ice cream was RREALLLL a couple weeks ago. That was all I could talk about. “I need a brownie. I need a good brownie. I need the best brownie ever.” Sure there were plenty of suitors, but none would do. I needed that delicious, gooey, soft, chocolate-y bite. When I finally got my hands on it, I realized I had built it up so much. Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I ate it so slowly to make the moment last as long as possible. But once I was done, my craving was gone. I didn’t need to binge on it (although I did grab a second helping). Additionally, I saved myself so many calories along the way because I wasn’t stuffing my face with cookies, calorie-dense “nutrient” bars, or pie in hopes of fulfilling that empty brownie void. I waited for that beautiful chunky of a brownie. So my question to you is: what is that thing you’re craving? When you think of holiday food, are you thinking of dessert? Something savory? Find it and focus on it.
You don’t have to get a full-blown workout in tomorrow. Especially if it takes away from family time. Instead, maybe suggest going on a hike or a walk. Scout out a fitness studio nearby and sign up for a class. I love doing that when go back home to Bethesda. There is always a new fitness concept popping up on the scene that I don’t normally get to try. Currently have my sights set on SolidCore and CorePower Yoga. If taking a class is not possible, make an effort to stand up for at least one minute every hour. Offer to be the gopher person (the one who goes and fetches whatever anyone wants). Whatever you do, move in a way that honors your body and your day.
This one is a biggie. No matter what, it is important to stay hydrated, regardless of alcohol consumption. But if your holidays usually include alcohol, then this is EXTRA important for you. Chug whatever when you think of it. Right when you wake up, after breakfast, before lunch, after lunch, while you watch a movie, before dinner, after dinner, before dessert, after dessert, right before bed. CHUG. Repeat after me: Wake up…chug.
Have a happy holiday, everyone! Stay safe and healthy