By Katherine Bennett, registered dietitian at CHOC Children’s
The holiday season is full of festive events, good food and cherished memories. However, it can also be a time for more stress, unhealthy eating and getting sick. Check out the seven tips for staying healthy during the holidays below.
- Keep moving! Although days are shorter and your schedule may be full, try to devote time to being active. Take a short walk while on break at work, do a free yoga video after your morning coffee, or ride your bike to grocery store to pick up that one forgotten item. Playing hide-and-go seek, building a fort, or having a jump rope contest are easy and fun ways to help the whole family stay active. Research shows being active can strengthen your immune system, decrease stress, and help keep unwanted weight off.
- Focus on fun, not food and drinks. Swap out the usual cookie baking tradition or gingerbread house decorating and establish a nonfood based holiday tradition like making homemade ornaments or volunteering.
- Get enough sleep. Being tired can lead to increased stress, low energy and making unhealthy eating and drinking decisions. Don’t overbook yourself with holiday events and try to stick to a regular bedtime every night.
- Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. Skipping meals can lead to you making unhealthy choices and overeating at a later meal. If your schedule is busy, plan ahead and pack a snack so you don’t have an excuse.
- Drink water. Colder weather and indulging in holiday party drinks can make us forget we still need to drink water. Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go to help remind you to stay hydrated.
- Try healthier holiday favorites. Try to change recipes or ingredients for your favorite holiday dishes to make them healthier. Check out CHOC’s recipe box filled with healthy recipes.
- Don’t forget your fruits and vegetables. Just because there are more sweet treats, comfort foods and fun holiday drinks, don’t forget about the fruits and vegetables. They are low calorie and good sources of vitamins and minerals that can help keep your immune system strong.
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- At home before a trip, set the stage by offering some of the foods you might experience on your upcoming travels.