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Have a Healthier Holiday Season

The next six weeks are not the time to give up all healthy lifestyle habits! Here are some great ways to keep them going while still enjoying the holidays.

By MMF Ambassador Sarah Kane

I am the first person in the food line at get-togethers! I never skip the dessert table and my plate gets filled up by getting “just a little of everything." So I am not here to tell you to just have a salad during the holidays.

At the same time, I have let indulges get the best of me, and by the end of the day I feel bloated and lethargic. Attending a holiday party or gathering doesn’t have to be salad or bust! There are ways to enjoy the events and special food for the holidays without derailing your goals.

1. Get your workout done first thing!

Whether it’s a local turkey trot (albeit virtual in 2020), a 30 minute home workout, a dance party with kids, flag football game, or a long walk with your dog--getting your movement done early will help you to enjoy the rest of the day and not skip out because you are full and lethargic.

2. Don’t skip breakfast

It might make sense to "save your calories" to consume at the special meal of the day; however, eating a healthy, balanced breakfast will prevent you from overeating later because you are overly hungry. Despite it being a holiday, eat as you normally would.

3. Drink water

You have probably heard of aiming to drink half your body weight in ounces each day (i.e 130 lb = 65 oz). Don't stop that during the holidays. Hydration is going to help with cravings, overeating, and feeling bloated. Rotate in water between other holiday beverages (soda, wine, beer, eggnog). This trick will not only help you reduce calories, but you will feel much better the next day.

4. Pay attention to your plate

Yes, there are so many great foods this time of year! Good news is, there is almost always plenty of protein! Aim to fill half your plate with vegetables, ¼ with protein and the other ¼ with carbohydrates. When it comes to dessert, just take smaller pieces. You can still savor the taste of grandma's pie, with all the memories it brings, while keeping portion sizes in check.

5. Bring the healthy option

There are so many fantastic, healthy options you can contribute to a holiday meal. Let some one else bring the pie, and you bring the avocado deviled eggs or the craisin pecan salad with goat cheese. Not only will this guarantee there will be food to keep you on track with your goals, but people love having a fresh, delicious option at the table that isn't smothered in butter or gravy. And then you can share the recipe!

6. Have regular health check-ins

Set a day of the week EVERY week to stop and have a health check-in. Are you sleeping? Are you purposefully de-stressing? Are you making healthy eating choices most days? Are you drinking enough water and moving most days? This is not meant to make you feel guilty or something to obsess over, but making it a point to not let weeks go by without dialing into what your body and mind really need.

7. Watch for mindless eating

If your holidays are anything like mine, you go places where there are multiple appetizers and candy dishes scattered around available before and after the main meal. It’s so easy to reach for the food that is in front of you, as you are chatting casually with a friend or relative. It seems so simple, but move away from the food so you won’t be tempted, chew gum so you are less likely to reach for a snack, or even skip "cocktail hour" entirely and save your appetite for the full meal.

At the end of the day, remember that the time with your favorite people is the most important thing of the day. You have the power to CHOOSE what you do. CHOOSE to move more, eat healthy, stress less, and be a role model to others.

Sarah is an avid runner and a MMF Ambassador. Follow her online and on Facebook or Instagram.

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