How to Eat Through the Holidays… Healthfully!

{by Rebecca Florio}

It’s that most wonderful time of year! A time where everywhere you go, you are met with chocolate bon-bons, candy canes and tin upon tin of Christmas cookies. What’s a healthy girl to do?

Get ready, we’re about to make a game plan for staying healthy during the holidays — without losing a jolly spirit!
  1. Plan Your Indulgences. I love the smells filling the air — gingerbread cookies, pumpkin pie, and peppermint mochas. By no means should you feel deprived of special treats that only come once a year! Just be sure to indulge thoughtfully. Save your sweet tooth for your Mom’s signature sugar cookie and leave behind the packaged “unspecial” Chips A’hoy. When at a holiday get-together, choose the one dessert that most appeals to you or take mini “sampling” portions and then fill the rest of your plate with veggies and fruit. Indulging thoughtfully makes the treats you make room for so much more enjoyable!
  1. Plan Your WorkoutsExercise is so important to maintaining a healthy attitude and lifestyle! But I know how hard it is to wake up after a night of cookies and cocoa and pull yourself from under warm toasty covers so you can run in the frigid cold. This is why planning your workouts ahead of time is so important. I usually work out five days a week, alternating between running and strength training and always before I go to bed, I set my alarm, write out my exercise plan and lay out my work-out clothes. When I wake up with a workout all ready and waiting for me, it is much harder to say no! I also find that starting the day with exercise sets the pace for making healthier choices all day.  
  1. Plan Your MealsAlong with workouts, give veggies some extra love this Christmas season. With cookie bakes and parties abounding, focus your meals at home on packing as much nutritious foods in as possible. Think big salads, roasted vegetables, green smoothies, and stir-frys. Fill your purse with healthy snacks like granola bars and carrot sticks for a long day of Christmas shopping.

  1. Plan to ContributeWhenever I go to a Christmas party or dinner, I always offer to bring a dish. This way, I know that there will be at least one healthy option! Some of my favorite contributions are raw veggies with dip, fruit salad, pita chips with pumpkin dip, a big healthy salad, or cookies with a healthy twist. The hostess will be grateful for your help and I find most people appreciate a nutritious dish in a table of decadent ones! 
  1. Plan to Enjoy. If you make some unhealthy choices this season, don’t fret. There will time to get back on track. Most important is to truly celebrate Christmas. We all know that Christmas isn’t really about the candy-canes and hot chocolate, so lets focus on loving our family and friends, making memories, and most of all, worshipping the Christ Child. May our hearts be filled with Him and the wonder of His birth.