How to Stay Happy & Healthy During the Holidays

— Written By and last updated by Patricia Burch

The holidays can be a time full of fun and joy. There are days off work, more time with friends and family, and of course tons of delicious food. After Thanksgiving, you may be feeling blissfully full and overall content with the time you spent in fellowship over food, but someone out there may also be feeling guilty for all the food they consumed and are desperately craving their typical routine.

This article will focus on how to stop those feelings of regret over food and provide tips to maintain your typical routine throughout the remainder of the holiday season. This may even serve as an inspiration to develop a routine to carry into the new year.

  1. Practice mindfulness – Being mindful is the idea of doing something with a purpose rather than going through the motions. Practicing mindfulness while we eat encourages us to enjoy our meals rather than being distracted and losing focus on our food. Some ideas for being more mindful is putting down phones or turning off the TV while eating. Sitting down for meals, savoring every bite, and talking with your friends or family also practices mindfulness.
  2. Stick to your regular eating pattern – Don’t feel pressured to skip meals and enjoy a healthy breakfast or a snack before events.
  3. Don’t be afraid to indulge – Let yourself enjoy those foods you look forward to during the holidays and practice being mindful to avoid bingeing.
  4. Listen to your body – Our bodies give us cues to let us know when they are hungry and even when they are full. This is not always easy, but our goal should be to satisfy our hunger rather than stuff ourselves.
  5. Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables first – Keep the MyPlate visual in the back of your mind and try filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. If a buffet style is offered, try looking over all your options and planning ahead.
  6. Make time to exercise – If you normally exercise try to take the time to stick to your normal schedule. Invite family and friends to go walking with you or incorporate time for physical activity with the family before a meal.
  7. Get plenty of rest – With the holidays being so busy it is important to make time for adequate rest physically and mentally. Holidays can also bring on a lot of stressors and ensuring you get enough sleep is important.
  8. Drink water – Water can serve a lot of different purposes including keeping you hydrated, helping you stay fuller, and also avoiding more sugary beverages. 

The majority of the holidays are centered around sharing food with family and friends. I encourage you to indulge in that piece of the pie, or maybe even two pieces because our lifestyles and our relationship with food should be focused on balance and moderation, not guilt or shame.

Holiday Salad with Pears and Pomegranates

Serves 4

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 oz fresh spinach
  • 2 ripe, yet firm, pears – chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans – chopped
  • ½ cup of feta – crumbled
  • ¼ cup of pomegranate seeds
  • Salad dress of choice, for example, balsamic vinaigrette

Directions

  1. Once all ingredients are chopped, place the spinach, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, pears, and feta in a large salad bowl. You can arrange the salad by layers or toss it all together.
  2. Drizzle with salad dressing just before serving.

Notes

  • This recipe would also be delicious with apples instead of pears.
  • If preparing the salad ahead of time, keep the pears or apples from browning by dipping them in a solution of half water and half lemon juice.
  • Spinach could be substituted in this recipe for arugula, kale, spring mix, etc.
  • The recipe was adapted from The Forked Spoon.