Holiday Hacks: Tips to Stay Healthy During the Holiday SeasonBy Elisa - Jenny Craig Expert Reviewed
While the weather might be cooling down, your social calendar is probably just starting to heat up. There’s no shortage of parties, family get-togethers and other festive events during the holidays. With a busy schedule and an abundance of incredible meals, it might feel challenging to maintain your healthy habits.
Make staying on track during the holidays easier by focusing on small, simple ways you can prioritize your health. By incorporating the right habits, you can enjoy each occasion without losing sight of your weight loss goals. Here are our tops tips to stay healthy while celebrating the holidays.
How to successfully navigate holiday meals
BYOD (Bring Your Own Dish)
Not sure how to stay healthy during the holidays? While sweet and savory treats seem to be everywhere during this time of year — at work, parties and family functions — there are plenty of solutions that will keep you on track while allowing you to enjoy these events. Here’s how to set yourself up for mealtime success: Offer to bring a dish so you’ll have something delicious to eat that won’t derail your weight loss plans. Check out these 5-minute recipes for quick and delicious side dish ideas. If you are on the Jenny Craig plan, eat your Jenny Craig meal in advance and once you are at the event, enjoy items that are already on your menu like salad or fruit options.
Pay attention to portions and eating speed
During mealtimes, select healthier options (like non-starchy vegetables and lean proteins) and use a smaller plate to keep your portions in check. Try to also pay attention to how quickly you eat. Research has shown that people who eat quickly are more likely to gain weight, have higher blood glucose and a larger waistline.1 Eating slowly and more mindfully gives you the time to savor your food and allows your digestive system’s hormones time to signal to your brain feelings of fullness.2 This communication between your gut and your brain typically takes about 20 minutes to take effect.3 So take your time at the dinner table — enjoy each bite’s taste, texture and smell!
Reach for water
What you drink is just as important as what you eat. During the holidays, focus on staying hydrated and avoid high-calorie beverages, like sodas, alcohol and sugary coffee drinks. Wondering what to sip on when you’re at a holiday party? Studies show that drinking more water may help with weight loss.4 Staying properly hydrated can increase feelings of fullness during your meal — which means you may not be as inclined to reach for seconds.5 Change things up with sparkling water or a seasonal fruit-infused flavor, like grapefruit, pomegranate or pear. To infuse water, slice your fruit and add it to a 2-quart pitcher of water. Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before enjoying. If you’re at an event, order a soda water and garnish it with a lemon or lime.
How to support your weight loss goals during the holidays
De-stress and improve your fitness with exercise
Physical activity doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming to be effective. It can be as simple as taking a brisk 10-minute walk during your lunch break, playing tag with your kids, or squeezing in a few exercises at home and between chores.
Even a short burst of activity can positively impact your body by boosting your metabolism, mood and heart function.6 Exercise is also a great way to manage stress, especially during the hectic holiday season. Physical activity helps reduce the body’s stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Additionally, it stimulates the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.7 The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by your holiday to-do list, try taking 15-30 minutes to get your heart pumping.
With a little preparation, you can get on track with your weight loss goals and your holiday plans this season by being mindful of your eating habits and activity level. This year, try to create new holiday traditions that align with your health goals and get the whole family involved!
Ready to take the next step with your weight loss and healthy habits? Jenny Craig’s science-based programs offer delicious chef-crafted meals and personalized support. Book your free appointment with a consultant today and make 2019 your best year yet.
Elisa is a content marketing manager for Jenny Craig with over ten years of experience working in the health and fitness industry. She loves sharing her passion for living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. A San Diego native and an endurance sports enthusiast, you can usually find her swimming, biking along the coast highway or running by the beach in her free time. Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Chico.
Favorite healthy snack: mozzarella string cheese with a Pink Lady apple.
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