It’s completely possible to celebrate the holidays without sabotaging your health! Learn how with these 7 simple tips to help you enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season without restriction, guilt, or regrets!
I considered titling this post, “How to Eat Christmas Cookies and Still Fit into Your Jeans”. 😉
But, to be honest, this is about so much more than just how eat holiday sweets and not gain weight. This is about fully celebrating the season and staying healthy at the same time.
You really can have both, and it really doesn’t have to be hard.
7 Simple Steps to a Happy, Healthy Holiday Season
1. Eat (some of ) what you love
First things first – let’s talk cookies, candies, and cocktails, because that’s what’s on everyone’s mind this time of year. In my opinion, yes, you should have them. They’re part of what make the holidays special. But my advice is, don’t graze your way through every party having one of everything and then regretting it later. Fill up mostly on healthy, whole foods and save room for only those few indulgences you really enjoy.
This isn’t just about curbing your cookie calories – it’s about intentionally enjoying the things you love most in a way that won’t sabotage your mental, emotional, and physical health.
When I go to a holiday gathering I pick out the one or two special foods I know I’ll enjoy most, and try to leave the other stuff alone. For me, Ginger Cookies with Orange Clove Icing and Homemade Eggnog top the list. But you do you…just remember – If you don’t love it, don’t eat it.
For more ideas about healthy eating during the holidays, download my free, No Regrets Holiday Eating guide!
2. Look Beyond the Food
Many of my favorite holiday traditions involve baking and eating. But, when I shift my focus outward to others, and upward to God, the food stays in its place and the more important aspects of the holidays take precedence. And happily, I enjoy the season even more!
Ask yourself these questions before holiday events:
- Who can I encourage or bless while I’m here?
- What are two things I want to enjoy at this gathering that don’t have to do with food or drink?
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3. Nourish Your Gut
Did you know your gut health has a direct impact on your stress levels, hormone balance, immune function, mood, and more? And too much sugar and increased holiday stress can negatively affect the balance of good and bacteria in the gut. So during the holidays, more than any other time of year, give your gut some extra love.
Gut health tips for the holidays:
- Eat mostly plant foods – lots of vegetables with some fresh fruit, beans, peas, legumes, and raw or dry roasted nuts.
- Include fermented foods daily (Bubbies makes great lacto-fermented Sauerkraut or pickles or try my Easy Probiotic Carrots).
- Add collagen – This cold water soluble collagen from Great Lakes is my go-to. I stir it into my morning coffee and put it into some juice, yogurt, or oatmeal for the kids – we hardly even notice it’s there!
- Add a high Potency Probiotic supplement.
4. Stay Active
Physical Activity is a fantastic way to relieve stress and stay in shape over the holidays. Even short, 10 minute bursts of activity have been shown to help with immune function, blood sugar regulation, and weight management!
Ask yourself this question each day:
- What will I do that’s active today, even if it’s only for 10 minutes?
5. Don’t Skimp on Sleep!
I can’t overstate the importance of getting the right quantity and quality of sleep during seasons of increased stress and activity. It’s absolutely critical for proper immune function, hormone balance, and stress management.
Tips for better sleep during the holidays:
- Set a “go to bed” alarm just as you would a “wake up” alarm.
- Aim to be asleep by 10pm as often as possible.
- Get bright light exposure (natural light is best!) during the daytime.
- Switch to warm lamp light and turn off all screens at least 1 hr before bed.
- Eliminate all light when sleeping or try a super soft sleeping mask (we have this one and love it).
- Take this 5 Minute Sleep Quality Quiz, then learn how to sleep better naturally!
6. Manage Stress
Christmas time is wonderful, but it can also be overwhelming. In fact, women report the highest levels of stress and depression at this time of year.
Holiday stress management tips:
- Don’t overschedule – pick a few holiday events that are most important to you rather than signing up for everything.
- Identify and eliminate time wasters. I’ve started using the Social Fever app for my android phone and love that it helps me limit my time on social media!
- Simplify your gifting – consider giving experiences, joint gifts, or gift cards.
- Set healthy boundaries in relationships.
- Take shortcuts in the kitchen and around the house – Grab my Ultimate Guide to Healthy Prepared Food at Costco or my list of healthy, pre-made dinners from Trader Joe’s.
7. Fight off colds/flu
Not only does Christmas fall right in the middle of cool and flu season, but being in close quarters with so many other people at holiday gatherings makes spreading germs that much easier.
Below are my top tips for fighting colds and flu naturally. I used to get a few sinus infections every winter and can’t even remember the last time I had one since starting this regimen. As with most natural remedies, the keys to success are to start early, be consistent, and continue for a few days after symptoms subside.
- Wash hands often with natural soap and water
- Take homemade elderberry syrup
- Nasal Irrigation
- Essential oils – we combine tea tree, oregano, and lemongrass in our diffuser
- Follow these other cold and flu fighting tips