Today is the first day of our Gluten-Free Holiday! Are you as excited as I am? Ricki over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs is hosting this week. The theme is Healthier Through The Holidays. You should definitely head over there and check it out, and link up your tips for maintaining your health through the holidays (while still celebrating!), and enter for a chance to win The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Sergesten and Tom Malterre, or The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal.
What do I do to maintain my health (and weight) through the holidays, without being a humbug? I do what I do all year – I plan as much as possible. During hectic times of the year, I plan very quick and simple meals (many times using the slow cooker, or cooking in batches when I do have time, and incorporating the leftovers in various meals throughout the week) so that meal time doesn’t become a huge drag on my stress levels or my schedule. I generally plan meals for a week at a time, taking into consideration what our schedule looks like. I try not to reach for processed foods, but when time is short, I do allow myself shortcut ingredients, as long as they are generally foods that are based on whole, natural ingredients (such as canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables, or the occasional gluten-free bread). I focus on incorporating healthy proteins and lots of vegetables, so that my diet doesn’t fall short on nutrition. Sounds complicated? It really isn’t. Dinner might be as simple as a grilled chicken breast and a salad, or a piece of salmon and some simmered carrots and steamed kale, or this kale salad. (Check out my Quick and Easy category for more ideas!)
I allow myself indulgences, but I don’t use the “It’s the holidays!” excuse as a reason to shove every cookie, pie, cake, or other treat in my mouth. If I know a celebration is coming up, I make sure to eat well the rest of the day, so I won’t feel guilty about indulging at “celebration” time. Of course, when you can’t eat gluten or dairy, it does limit the amount of mindless indulgence to a degree (the cookies, pies, and cakes at the office and most holiday parties are off-limits), but if you’re anything like me, you’re more than willing to whip up an indulgent treat that you can have in the kitchen, which can present issues if you don’t exercise moderation. I save myself by giving away these indulgent treats if they tempt me too much. (My coworkers thank me, or at least I think they do. They might secretly curse me for indulging them!)
Keeping up your workout routine is also key. During the holidays, often we sit – sit in the car or on a plane while traveling, sit at the homes of friends and families, and sit after overeating our holiday dinners. Make sure you are active whenever possible – that activity will make you feel better, and help keep your health (and weight) in check. A workout routine doesn’t mean you have to slave away at the gym, if that’s not your thing. A daily walk will do a world of good. You can also keep up your strength with simple calisthenics – pushups, squats, crunches and/or planks, tricep dips with a chair, and so on. These can be done anywhere, even in a hotel room, so no excuses! Check out Mark’s Daily Apple for more ideas on maintaining fitness easily – he has a free Primal BluePrint Fitness ebook available, and it’s a great tool.
And lastly, take time to relax! The holidays are the most stressful time of year for a lot of people. No matter how busy you are, make sure you’re taking time for yourself to relax and destress. Realize that you can’t be everywhere or do everything for everyone. (I have to remind myself of this often!) Simplify as much as you can, and take the time to enjoy the real joy of the holidays – time with friends, family, and loved ones. After all, that’s what it’s all about, right?
So head on over to Diet, Dessert and Dogs and check out (and link up!) other great recipes, tips, and ideas for staying healthier through the holidays. Besides, you can enter for a chance to win some great books!