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How can I stay healthy and happy during the holidays?

It is important to enjoy the holidays, which often involve family, friends and food. However a balance of healthy diet and participation in exercise will help you remain both physically and mentally healthy. Therefore, maintaining a healthy lifestyle all year long can have added benefit to your overall health.
Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Sometimes I'm told that there's just no way to make the holidays happy ones if they have to be healthy ones. I disagree and thought I'd offer a few support points for my argument:

1. A holiday, by definition, is just one day; it's not holiweek or holimonth, so if we overindulge or consume treats for one day each month there's a very low likelihood that it will cause us to veer off our health path. So if you have a few events or even one every night, pick the one that you want to be your holiday and aim to keep the others less indulgent.

2. Give the gift that keeps on giving. I'm often told that holiday parties or shared meals are a major derailment to health plans. Why not bring a favorite healthier dish so that not only will you feel good about what you are eating but you will also show your guests that it's possible to eat healthier and have it taste great too.

3. Remember to keep pace. When we have balanced eating occasions (carb + pro + fat + unlimited vegetables -- and we stay on a schedule of eating occasions about every three hours, our energy will stabilize and our body will work efficiently -- this helps keep our insides happy, prevents fat storage, and also regulates our mood helping healthy mean happy inside and out. For example, a fist of organic high-fiber cereal with a serving of nuts or hempseeds (a complete protein) will supply all the nutrients one needs for a balanced eating occasion -- and it's easy to travel with when you are on the road or flying.

4. Healthy today, healthy tomorrow. Ever wonder why the flu season hits hardest in January and February? Could it be our immune systems have taken a weakening blow from November/December, leaving us ripe for a cold, or even the flu. We know that alcohol and sugar are immune suppressants, as is lack of sleep. I'm a realist and I want you to have fun, but take care to limit the frequency and quantity of these immune suppressants and try to get your Z's. I also recommend keeping up with your vitamin D intake, trying medicinal mushroom supplements, and using good quality homeopathic remedies at the first sign of a cold.

5. Treat yourself right. Who says that the only way to treat ourselves is with sweet or savory food or with too much drink? A day off? A hot bath? A mani-pedi? A new TV? Make your list and check it twice, make sure there's enough on there that isn't food or alcohol, so that when you treat yourself it stays a treat and doesn't turn into something you regret later.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.