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People gathered around a table filled with food for the holidays.

 

The holiday season is a time when gatherings with family and friends are abundant, and indulgent meals and sweet treats often take center stage. While it's a time for enjoyment and relaxation, it's also a period when many individuals struggle to strike a balance between festive indulgence and wellness.

 

Just because the holidays are typically an indulgent time, it doesn’t mean that you need to set those healthy lifestyle habits you’ve made on the back burner. You don’t need to wait until January to stay on top of your health and your well-being. 

 

In this blog post, we'll explore various strategies and habits to help you navigate this festive season while prioritizing your health and maintaining a sense of balance. 

 

As always, our team at Cook’s RX is here to help you in your health journey. You do not have to navigate this part of your life alone. If you’re still unsure about how to focus on your heart health or anything else related to healthy living, reach out to us and we will help you out.  

 

 

Mindful Eating During the Holidays 

Mindful eating during the holidays involves consciously selecting nutritious foods, savouring each bite, and practicing portion control to strike a balance between enjoying festive indulgences and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

 

Tips for Making Healthier Food Choices 

 

  • Opt for a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables to ensure a balance of nutrients. 

  • Choose lean protein sources like turkey, chicken, or fish for main dishes. 

  • Be mindful of hidden sugars and unhealthy fats in processed holiday foods. 

  • Prioritize whole grains, such as whole wheat bread or brown rice, when possible. 

  • Incorporate healthy fats like nuts and avocados into your holiday dishes. 

 

Suggestions for Portion Control and Avoiding Overindulgence 

 

  • Use a smaller plate to help control portion sizes naturally. 

  • Pay attention to hunger cues and stop eating when you're satisfied, not overly full. 

  • Take your time to savour each bite, enjoying the flavours and textures of your food. 

  • Limit alcohol consumption, as it can lower inhibitions and lead to overeating. 

  • Consider sharing dessert or choosing smaller portions of your favourite treats. 

 

 

Healthy Holiday Recipes 

When it comes to healthy holiday recipes, it's all about enjoying the festive flavours while making mindful choices.  

 

For appetizers, consider serving roasted vegetable skewers with a light yogurt dip or a flavourful quinoa salad.

 

As a main course, try a succulent roasted turkey with herbs and citrus, or opt for a vegetarian stuffed acorn squash for a hearty, nutrient-packed option.

 

Finally, indulge in guilt-free desserts like baked apples with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey, or a berry parfait layered with Greek yogurt for a satisfying and health-conscious sweet treat to complete your holiday feast. 

 

 

Stay Active During the Holiday Season 

Staying active during the holiday season involves finding creative ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, embracing holiday-themed workouts and activities, and prioritizing movement to counterbalance the festive indulgence. 

 

Couple holding toddler's hands while outside in a snowy forest.

 

Ways to Incorporate Physical Activity 

 

  • Schedule regular walks with family or friends after holiday meals to encourage movement. 

  • Take advantage of winter sports like ice skating, sledding, or skiing, depending on your location. 

  • Offer to help with holiday preparations like decorating, which can involve physical activity. 

  • Set a daily step goal and use a pedometer or smartphone app to track your progress. 

  • Explore indoor exercise options like yoga, Pilates, or dance classes at local studios or online platforms. 

 

And if you want to make it festive… 

 

  • Organize a festive family walk or run on Christmas morning or New Year's Day. 

  • Host a holiday-themed fitness challenge with friends or colleagues, such as a "12 Days of Fitness" event. 

  • Engage in winter-themed activities like building a snowman, shoveling snow, or having a friendly snowball fight

  • Create a holiday scavenger hunt that requires participants to walk or jog around the neighborhood in search of hidden items or decorations. 

 

 

Manage Your Holiday Stress 

For many, the holidays can be a particularly stressful time. There are so many lists, so much running around, ample cooking and cleaning to be done. Not to mention how they can be so emotionally and financially draining, too. 

 

Managing holiday stress is crucial as the emotional and physical toll of heightened stress levels can significantly impact your health. The pressures associated with holidays can lead to elevated cortisol levels, contributing to anxiety, sleep disturbances, and weakened immune function.

 

To avoid this, try stress management strategies like meditation or deep breathing exercises, which promote relaxation, reduce tension, and enhance overall well-being.  

 

Doing this will hopefully help you navigate the holiday season with greater ease and resilience. 

 

 

Prioritize Self-Care 

The holiday season can bring about added stress, and self-care is essential for managing it effectively. Self-care is a necessary practice for maintaining physical and mental well-being. Taking care of yourself allows you to have a more joyful and present experience during the holidays.  

 

Self-Care Tips 

 

  • Take regular breaks to recharge, whether it's a few minutes of deep breathing or a longer bath or spa day. 

  • Create a personal holiday ritual, like reading a book, listening to calming music, or practicing mindfulness meditation. 

  • Set boundaries with social commitments to ensure you’re getting enough rest and relaxation. 

  • Only take part in activities that bring joy, such as decorating, crafting, or enjoying a favorite hobby. 

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule and get proper nutrition to support overall well-being during the holiday season. 

 

 

Stay Hydrated 

Drinking enough water is crucial for overall health and well-being, especially during the holiday season when people may consume more alcohol, caffeine, and salty foods. There are so many benefits that come from proper hydration, such as improved energy levels, digestion, and skin health, as well as better management of holiday-related stress. 

 

Woman journaling by the Christmas tree and sipping a glass of water.

 

Ways to Incorporate More Water 

 

  • Drink water before, during, and after holiday meals and gatherings to help control appetite and reduce the chances of overeating. 

  • Infuse your water with fresh fruits, herbs, or cucumber slices to make it more appealing and flavourful. 

  • Carry a reusable water bottle to remind yourself to drink water throughout the day, whether at home, work, or while running errands. 

  • If water is not your thing, try herbal teas, water-rich fruits (e.g., watermelon), and hydrating foods (e.g., soups and broths). 

  • Limit sugary, carbonated, and alcoholic beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration. 

 

 

Create Healthy Holiday Traditions 

Creating healthy holiday traditions is an opportunity for you and your loved ones to fill your festive season with wellness and meaningful experiences. It’s never too late to start new traditions that prioritize health and well-being.  

 

Some examples of health-conscious holiday traditions could include starting the day with a family walk or run, hosting a healthy recipe exchange party, or volunteering together as a family to spread goodwill in the community. All of these contribute to a more balanced and enjoyable holiday season. 

 

As always, our team at Cook’s RX is here to help you in your health journey. You do not have to navigate this part of your life alone. If you’re still unsure about how to focus on your heart health or anything else related to healthy living, reach out to us and we will help you out.

 

From our family to yours, Happy Holidays! 

 

 


 

Any medical or pharmaceutical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-pharmacist relationship and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. 

 

Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. 

 

Cook’s Pharmacy and its subsidiaries expressly disclaim responsibility and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site. 

 

 

 

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Poshin Jobanputra
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February 15, 2024
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