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Your guide to healthy holidays

Your guide to healthy holidays

If you’re already stressed out about the holidays -- and research shows that the majority of Americans are -- you probably don’t want to add health and diet to your list of things to be worried about.

First, let’s dispel some fiction. A common myth is that people often gain five pounds between Thansgiving and the New Year. In reality, it’s less than a pound, on average. In other words, you are not necessarily destined to gain weight over the next few weeks! Take that worry off your list, and replace it with these tips for enjoying a healthy holiday season:

  • Be a bit more mindful of what you eat before each gathering or party. Munch on some fruit or fresh veggies before you go. Better yet, offer to bring a healthy crudite platter to share.
  • At meal time, fill your plate with vegetable-based sides. 
  • Take bite-sized or half-portions of dessert.
  • Alternate everything you drink with a glass of water.
  • Plan healthy ways to indulge. Consuming holiday favorites such as cheese, chocolate and even meat is possible on a heart healthy diet so long as portions are reasonable.
  • Remember that eating healthy is a series of small, smart choices. That includes Step One Foods! But it also means that you shouldn’t beat yourself up over one meal or one day. Simply start fresh the next day.

Now for a fact. It’s really easy to dispense advice. It’s much more difficult to follow that advice! The holidays can be HARD. We are surrounded by food and social situations that we don’t necessarily encounter other times of the year. And, truth be told, many of these are foods and social events that we look forward to all year.

So if the food thing isn’t going as planned, use other tools you have at your disposal to navigate this season more successfully:

  • Make time for yourself, every day. Go for a walk or set a reminder to meditate.  Managing stress is a big deal.
  • Focus on health, not weight. After all, you’re in this to live a longer and healthier LIFE - not just get through one holiday season.  Even if your efforts stall a bit over the holidays, if you stay focused on then bigger goal in the long term, you’ll be fine.

So let's all take a deep breath and just do our best. That doesn't mean this season gets to morph into weeks or months of less thoughtful choices.  But if we're going to be forgiving to ourselves, this might be the time.

What I've found is that taking the focus off of food and not beating myself up over not living perfectly actually helps me remember what I cherish most about this season: Spending time with close friends and family and celebrating the past year together.

Like many of you, I am not perfect over the holidays.  But I do try to make better choices when I can.  And I rely on Step One Foods to guarantee that - at the very least - I cover my nutritional basics each and every day.

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