Nourish your body to have more energy and enjoyment of this Holiday season!
My sister and I were talking about how to make this Holiday Survival Guide Nutrition edition short and sweet, but applicable to our lives RIGHT NOW, amid the hustle, bustle, wrapping, and eating.
I’m still working off the rest of my baby weight (yes, he’s 17 months now), so one of my goals this December was to not put any weight back on. This no longer feels like a drag, but a positive challenge to see where I can be my healthiest.
This time of year makes it extra difficult because I LOVE FOOD and healthy, homemade treats, so I have to be extra careful to be intentional with my choices during a season that seems to revolve around food. BUT, the season doesn’t revolve around food or family, or even children, as many believe. Sure, we can make Christmas whatever we want, but historically, Christmas is the celebration of the life of one person, Jesus. When Jesus is my focus, my priorities line up and it gets a little easier to remain peaceful amidst the fullness of the season. I still very much enjoy the food, family, friends, and snowy days, but I can do all that with priorities in place.
The result of making good choices affects EVERYTHING and everyone around me. When I eat better, my mood is better, I’m physically healthier, and most notably, I have more energy, yes, even with a 17-month-old baby who STILL doesn’t sleep all through the night.
Let me share with you some Survival Guide strategies to help you to feel your best as this holiday season ends as we welcome in the New Year.
This is so enjoyable and simple, but it takes reminders to actually do it. Slow down, COUNT how many times you chew a bite, enjoy the tastes and textures of your food. And give thanks. Read this article for a fun exercise on mindful eating. Or pickup the award-winning book Living Wellness for Growth Groups and read the inspiring chapter on mindfulness (chapter 3).
Rather than focusing on “limiting sweets,” focus on increasing COLOR
When we focus on what we “can’t have” or even what we are limiting, we often crave that thing. Rather than focusing on limiting your sweets, focus on increasing your vegetable and fruit intake. Load up on different colored veggies at social gatherings and make sure you have enough protein to help keep your blood sugar stable. Make a goal to eat the entire rainbow in one week (or less!). Be mindful and grateful for the nourishment your body is receiving when you eat healthy food.
Drink half of your ideal body weight in ounces every day. “In addition to boosting your metabolism, water is also responsible for bringing nutrients into and removing waste from every cell. Water also aids in digestion, balances body fluids, helps you feel full, keeps your muscles energized, keeps your skin elastic, and flushes your kidneys and liver” Living Wellness for Growth Groups (p. 70). Water also helps to kick dehydration headaches and gives you tons of energy when you’re out and about.
Make eating healthy convenient — when you buy or make a veggie tray for a party, buy or make an extra for at home. My family eats so many more vegetables when I have a leftover veggie tray in the fridge—it’s like all of a sudden, they enjoy broccoli and celery! So, I’ve been cutting up the extra veggies and putting them in clear glass containers and trays to snack on in between meals. When I have a hodge-podge of extras, I make them all into a soup or stir fry!
Close the kitchen after dinner
This is what really sneaks on the pounds and keeps you from getting your best night’s sleep. Check out this funny VIDEO from the Living Wellness Video Series if you need a reminder to close the kitchen after dinner. This one takes time to create as a habit. Put reminders on the fridge and pantry. Get the other members in the house to help keep you accountable (or to join you). Have water and decaf tea ready when you want to snack on something. And, when you just can’t go on any more, have a veggie ALREADY to snack on—I have baby carrots in the fridge when I just can’t kick the after dinner snacking habit. I’m much better with a bag of carrots than I am with a bag of lime chips. :)
Eat foods to BOOST your immune system
Fermented foods fill your gut with healthy bacteria and help you fight off everything from the common cold to the flu. You can get the recommended 3 servings of fermented foods by eating:
Yogurt or Kiefer for breakfast
Apple cider vinegar on a salad with lunch
Pickle or other fermented vegetable with dinner
Wallah! You’ve got 3 servings of gut-boosting foods to super-charge your immune system and optimally digest and absorb the nutrients in your food.
Eat protein and/or fat
Eat protein and/or fat at every meal to keep you satisfied longer—when you reach for:
An orange, add a small handful of almonds.
Celery, add some nut or peanut butter.
Red pepper slices and hummus or guacamole go wonderfully together (use the pepper or other vegetable like a chip).
Move your body
I know that isn’t’ a nutrition tip, but on the days I exercise, I seem to make much better food choices and I feel and sleep better.
My prayer for you this season is that you don’t get caught up in a bunch of rules to be healthier as you approach the New Year. Rather, my hope is that you’ll see the gift of your body as just that—a gift! We have a daily opportunity to steward the gift of our bodies joyfully and healthfully.
Regardless of how you’ve done so far, let’s take the remainder of this year and next to live out the healthiest and most joyful version of ourselves.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays to ALL!
You are worth more than mediocre. You are worth exceptional health!
© 2017 Living Wellness, LLC Revolutionizing health, one community at a time.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.