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Now that the gluttony of Thanksgiving Day feasts are over, we’re all likely gearing up for the December holidays. Comfort food comes to mind as the temperature drops, the layers come on, and family and friends are ever-present, not to mention Grandma’s recipes — complete with rich and creamy sauces that warm the heart and soul — heavy alcoholic concoctions, and trays of cookies at holiday parties. With all the distractions this time of year brings, it can become increasingly easy to toss your everyday healthy lifestyle by the wayside.

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Holiday table setting

I know, for me, as much as I enjoy being entirely indulgent, I also find myself becoming moodier. The feeling of being bloated makes me self-concious and uncomfortable, and all the processed foods make me feel depressed and anxious— side effects discovered and proven by extensive research. But equally as unsettling is the idea of staying at home with a clean meal and opting out of festivities out of mere worry of uncontrollable eating behaviors.

One of the biggest reasons people love this time of year is all of the celebrations it entails. They’re good for your health. The sense of community, of laughter and warmth, of excitement and so much more, are beneficial to your mental state, so avoiding them because of the food is unfair to your soul. Instead, try making daily tweaks that will keep you on track. Try these three tips out for starters.

Pick a healthy food habit to follow through with for the rest of the year.

If you aim too high this time of year, you’re bound to face failure. So, rather than trying to be “perfect,” just try to incorporate healthy choices that will make you feel good from the inside out and make way for you to opt for healthier choices as the days go by.

Lemon water

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A few ideas:

  1. Sip a cup of warm lemon water each morning.
  2. For your sugar fix, eat a piece of fruit rather than a processed cookie.
  3. Incorporate raw veggies into your daily diet, whether it be a salad or a midday snack.

Make it a priority to stay active.

Studies show that exercise is incredible for your overall wellbeing, but with the days getting shorter and colder, it can be hard to find the motivation to get going, while processed foods aid in making you feel lethargic.

Exercising in winter

A few ideas:

  1. Recruit a workout buddy to hold you accountable for getting your exercise in.
  2. Try a new exercise class, whether it be salsa dancing or AcroYoga, to keep things fresh and fun.
  3. Get up earlier and take a walk. It’s no secret the darkness hits all too early in the day, so absorb some natural sunlight to ward off seasonal depression while also getting your blood pumping to release endorphins.

Bring healthy dishes to holiday parties.

You know there won’t be a lack of scrumptious goodies there. You start with the endless finger foods and make your way onto the heavy dishes, followed by the sweet treats. Don’t say no to them, especially if you’re looking forward to a bite, but rather make sure you have veggie-focused options for snacks and side dishes. You’d be surprised at how your mind might crave the healthy stuff at the site of it.

Butternut Squash Salad

A few ideas:

  1. A Simple Roasted Butternut Squash salad
  2. Walnut Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
  3. Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grape Bruschetta

Always make sure you are enjoying the holidays to the max, no matter what, but if you’re the type of person who knows that, come January 1st, you’ll be feeling a bit blue from your lifestyle choices, then let this advice serve as a means to help you make balanced decisions while still remaining festive.

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