1. Enjoy some active family time!
The holidays are about getting together with loved ones we don't get enough time with in our day-to-day lives, right? Rather than sitting around the table in a turkey coma, awkwardly running out of small talk and mindlessly helping yourself to a third helping of dessert, how about a game of touch football, visiting a local rock wall or simply going for a walk in the neighbourhood? A board game like Cranium will exercise your brain and get you away from the leftovers! Not only that, physical activity and mental distractions will help dissolve stress for the host and hostess and should placate any strained family dynamics.
2. Think outside the box.
This not only means avoiding pre-packaged, processed foods like dehydrated dressing and frozen prepared perogies (between the preservatives and the inevitable added sodium and sugars, they're just not good for you!), but also cutting the calories in your classic holiday favourites. Read up on how to make substitutions of healthier ingredients in your recipes that will achieve just as tasty results, or find new ones like my Butternut Squash Soup with Niman Ranch Bacon Bits or Fire-Roasted Salsa Verde with Skinny Chips
3. Eating out doesn't have to mean pigging out.
During the holidays, we have a lot more social obligations -- office parties, book club outings, guests from out of town who want to treat us to a special dinner...it's even harder than usual to keep a handle on our intake. Firstly, start the day off with a low-fat lean protein and healthy carb combo and eat regular snacks or meals every four hours before you go out. It'll set you up for the rest of the day so you don't end up with a crashing metabolism. A lot of people make the mistake of "saving up" their calories all day before going out to dinner and then feel justified in feasting indiscriminately.
4. STOP EATING when you're full!
Much more easily said than done when the table in front of you is laden with freshly-made, steaming dishes, some of which are reserved for special occasions such as this! However, at the end of the day if you can't button your shirt, have to consume a whole bottle of antacids before you can fall asleep and experience physical pain, is it really worth it? Practice mindful eating and not only will you enjoy all the pleasures of that lovingly cooked meal, you'll have more leftovers which can go in the freezer to be brought out for the end of a hectic workday weeks later.
5. Give it a rest.
Some people try to squeeze every ounce of partying and visiting they can into the holidays. Workaholics become "wake-aholics." The truth is, getting enough sleep is key to overall health and wellness, not to mention your ability to maintain your ideal weight. Think about it -- when you're on the go but having a hard time focusing because you've been burning the candle at both ends, you reach for a rapid sugar-spike, right?How about using the time away from the office to re-balance your lifestyle and look after yourself? Sleep well, eat well and enjoy what the holiday has to offer, without the drama.