1. Replace refined grains with whole grains.
While refined grains are problematic and linked to many diseases, whole grains are health promoting. Whole grains are a healthy source of carbs, protein, fiber and various vitamins and minerals. They are also relatively inexpensive and generally aren’t labor intensive.
2. Drink more water.
Water is one of the most basic of human needs. Drinking more water will likely reduce the amount of other beverages and keep you hydrated throughout the day.
3. Eat more fruit.
Fruit is one of the most health promoting foods you can eat. Eating more fruit will satisfy your sweet tooth, provide many nutritional benefits and help prevent going after unhealthy sweet foods like cookies and candy.
Try having your favorite fruit between each meal and every time you crave sugar.
4. Do physical activity you enjoy.
January tends to be a busy month for gyms everywhere. If going to the gym feels like a chore, then it is unlikely you will follow through with it. Try spending that time doing physical activity you like or at least don’t mind.
5. Eat vegetables with every meal.
Vegetables are probably the most health promoting food group. Unfortunately many people struggle to even meet the minimum recommendations, and the most popular vegetable is french fries. One of the easiest ways to upgrade your diet is by adding more veggies in. You can add spinach to your smoothie, sprouts to your sandwich and have some broccoli with dinner.
*French fries and pizza don’t count.
With all the sweets and rich foods around the holidays, it is easy to undo an entire years worth of good choices in the span of a couple of weeks. The social pressure from parties and tradition also add onto how easy it is to backslide.
1. Bring healthy foods to holiday parties.
This guarantees that you will at least have some healthy options to eat.
2. Keep the junk and rich foods for the holiday itself.
Indulging on Christmas won’t hurt. Indulging for the entire month of December and early January will.
3. Try to make the same foods in less processed, lighter forms.
This could mean reducing refined sugars, using less processed oils or using whole grains rather than refined. E.g. For stuffing you can use more veggies, less added fats and whole wheat rather than white bread. You can also make fruit based desserts instead of desserts that revolve around added fats/added sugars.
4. Find time to exercise.
With scrambling to fit in various holiday activities, it can be easy to miss a few workouts. At the very least try to do a quick at-home workout with your own body weight or run for 20 minutes. Otherwise the holidays can be a starting point for a fitness rut.
5. Go light with the alcoholic beverages.
Liquid calories are one of the easiest ways to add on a few pounds during the holidays. Limit yourself to 2 drinks. Eggnog is probably the worst offender at around 350 calories per cup.
6. You don’t have to have every treat available.
Just because it only comes once per year does not mean you have to cram every option available while it lasts.