The holidays are here, and that means parties, dinners, and events around every corner. All of these parties will be filled with indulgent meals, tempting treats, and delicious drinks. But how do you not let all of your hard work fly out the window, leaving you feeling bloated and uncomfortable when the new year hits?
We turned to our fitness and nutrition experts for their personal tips on how to have fun, but stay mindful, this holiday season.
What do you recommend someone who is just starting a fitness routine do to stay committed during the cold weather months and tempting holiday parties?
The biggest focus during the holidays and winter months is just simply consistency. You don’t have to do the most strenuous workouts to create results. So your plan needs to follow guidelines that will highlight consistency. There are tons of magazines, apps and community groups that highlight great little workouts, even following me on social media [@migueljortiz] can be inspirational. I post a lot of workouts, so the access to exercise is always within reach. The problem is that people just are not moving enough.
So the next question I always get is, “where do I begin?” Let’s start with working out and stretching 30 min. a day at least 4x per week. This way the body will start adapting to the exercise and you will start feeling better from the consistency of your movement. Holiday parties come down to planning. If you know you’re going to a party that might not have the healthiest food then the important thing is to eat before you get there. The ability to keep the body healthy and enjoy a fun holiday party comes down to two important tasks: pre-planning food before you go and keeping the self-discipline to not eat the bad stuff when you get there. So maybe before attending a holiday party you eat a small meal consistent of a good balance between your protein, fats and carbs. Remember protein will mitigate hunger so having a little protein before a party will help the cravings. So this holiday season be good to yourself by eating healthy, knock out at least 4 workouts a week for at least 30 minutes and if you need a little more accountability, try doing this with a friend! – Miguel Ortiz, CPT
What is the biggest tip you can give someone so they don’t overindulge at all of the holiday parties?
During the holidays, when there is an event every weekend (or weekday) it can be difficult to stay “healthy”. At CentreSpringMD, I remind our patients that the celebration isn’t about the food. The holidays are meant for spending time with family and friends. At your next party, focus on spending time with others and make food the supporting cast. Come January 1st, your mind and body will thank you! – Margot Wittenveen, MS, RDN, LD
What is the best ‘swap’ someone can make in holiday cooking to cut down on junk, and make dishes more nutritious?
It is hard to just choose one swap because there are SO many options: use bananas in breads instead of sugar, substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream in dips, bake with whole wheat flour instead of refined white flour are just a few! If I had to choose one, I would say “Eat More Veggies.” Add minced carrots and celery with currants to your stuffing mixture. Use fresh green beans instead of canned in your casserole. Bring a side of roasted Brussels sprouts with pomegranates and hazelnuts to the family Thanksgiving meal. Filling half of your plate with veggies is always a good way to eat more healthful and nourishing food during the holidays! – Ginny Streib, RDN
What’s one trick someone can use to hold themselves more accountable, and not let their plan ‘fly out the window’ during the holidays?
One thing you can do to hold yourself more accountable during the holidays is to actually schedule your workouts, meal planning and prep, and you time (2-3 hours a week). I recommend penciling all of this in on Sunday for the upcoming week. Look at all three of these things as appointments as well as non-negotiable during the upcoming holiday season. You will feel so much more balanced and accomplished by January 1st. If you have to cancel an “appointment” it shouldn’t throw you off too much. What matters is what you do most of the time, especially during the holidays! – Stephanie Watson, Health Coach
What’s your favorite sweet treat recipe that’s still packed with nutrients?
If you love things like mint chocolate chip ice cream, then this is your snack. Reminiscent of Girl Scout Thin Mints, these bite-sized little treats will make your taste buds want to sing around the campfire. With a crunchy texture and a minty-sweet taste, this snack will be loved by all. And unlike many Paleo snack balls (or bars) that use high glycemic sugars, like dates, these will keep your blood sugars stable! – Landria Voigt, Nutritionist
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 cup almonds
- ½ cup pepitas
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 tbsp flax meal
- 3 tbsp raw organic cacao powder
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
- 1/3 cup coconut nectar or honey or maple
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- Using a food processor, grind the nuts and pepitas together until they are finely chopped.
- You don’t want a flour texture, so don’t blend it too much.
- Then add the rest of the ingredients into the processor and blend until well combined.
- Lastly, remove the mixture from the processor and use your hands to roll them into golf ball sized dollops.
- If they are too sticky to roll well, then put them in the refrigerator for a few minutes, clean your hands off and then continue to make your balls.
To book an appointment with any of these providers to help you stay on track this season, call us at 404.814.9808.