Don’t let the holidays derail your health – 20 ways to have healthy holidays

Let’s embrace the joys that can be a natural part of the holidays. After all, if eating’s the only excitement all season, of course we’ll justify a sugar rush! Asking you to “stand with your back to the buffet”, and “alternate wine and water”, is all well and good, but if you run around doing ‘everything’ and are ‘starving’ you may end up too tired to care anymore. Even if you vow to resist the loaf with creamy cheese dip or a tempting but too sweet dessert, if you are overtired and overspent resistance may be futile! So along with the usual suggestions like “eat protein”, here’s a reminder to relax, nurture yourselves, and enjoy healthy holidays.

1. Let your mantra be: Less effort, more ease. This can be applied in almost all areas of life. Go with the flow, struggle less. When a situation is inflexible, your attitude can be a flexible one. 2. Commit now to committing to less. I could mention massage and Epsom salts, but preventing stress is better than soothing it away later. So do less. 3. Get to bed. Yes, really. The less you can imagine doing this, the more likely you need to do it. 4. Make a huge pot of soup or stew on your day off. It is a perfect easy way to get winter veggies, lean protein and good fats to balance out the sugary holiday stuff. Good recipes can be found here, here, and here. 5. Start the day right. Get moving and have a balanced breakfast with protein and good fat. A morning walk or yoga session allows for a moment of gratitude and presence. Now is a great time to try to get an earlier start—you will be well into your new routine come New Years! 6. Prior to a social event, have a bowl of that soup or stew. 7. Find the silver lining. Practice having a ridiculously positive outlook. Your favorite tree blew over out front? On the bright side, you now have much less raking to do! 8. Gift ‘experiences’ to loved ones when you can. The gift of an experience will mean more togetherness and activity and less wrapping, cleanup, recycling, and clutter. 9. Don’t drink your sugar. Pumpkin pie is more nutritious and filling than a pumpkin spice latte! 10. Buy long-keeping produce. You want items that will not go bad when you end up unexpectedly eating out. Sweet potatoes, cabbage, and frozen berries are good, and tart apples, carrot sticks, and Red Beet Crystals (US/CA) are also seasonally appropriate and convenient. 11. Plan family events around activities and places you love. Make new traditions and memories for the holidays! 12. Honor joy and leisure. If this is tough for you, tell yourself you can return to martyrdom later. 13. Seek balance. If you are very controlled and disciplined, spend unstructured time in nature. 14. Be yourself. If you feel social, socialize. If you want solitude, so be it! Of course, this requires tuning in to yourself, so be mindful. 15. Acknowledge all that you have, and give to those less fortunate. Gratitude fills us with joy, and it is a great time to give! Donate money, coats, or your time to people and causes you care about. 16. Do not act as if you have more money than you do. Avoid overspending to keep up appearances. Stay within your means. Do avoid money woes, but do not avoid your financial statements! 17. Show the kids how to play outside. You are tough, so bundle up and—snowshoeing or nature hikes in the sun, walks to see lights, skating! 18. Compassion starts with yourself. Being hard on yourself works opposite from what you want, so be easy on yourself. An important reminder, especially if you have an illness or a particularly complicated or exhausting family dynamic to deal with over the holidays. 19. When you do get busy, make it fun. 20. And of course…have protein at all meals and snacks, and drink more water than you think you need to. Carry it with you! Holistic Nutritionist Dana Green Remedios, RHN, RNCP has a passion for helping others break through their blocks to greater health, wealth, and happiness, working with transformational mind-body tools. The Vancouver-based educator and coach answers your questions in English, French, and Spanish as a Specialist working in the Product Information Department at Flora, and is a regular contributor to the FloraHealthy blog.