Healthy for the Holidays
The holidays are hard when you are trying to be healthy. Maintaining your health this holiday season isn’t just about eating right. Our focus needs to be on nutrition, activity, and stress relief as we navigate through the best time of the year. These are my tips for staying healthy while still enjoying the holidays.
1) Eat breakfast. Yes, you are going to have some large, heavy meals over the holiday season. It is tempting to skip breakfast on those days. Don’t fall into the trap! Eating a light breakfast with protein and complex carbohydrates will get your metabolism going for the rest of the day. And speaking of metabolism….
2) Keep moving! The holidays can lead to a lot of down time when visiting family. When everyone is sitting on the couch watching their fourth hour of football, take the opportunity to exercise or go on a walk.
3) Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods. We all have that one holiday food that we refuse to even think about the number of calories that are actually in it. For me, it's the scalloped potatoes. They are my favorite. When loading up your plate for your big Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, try to fill 75% of your plate with meat and vegetables (real vegetables if they are an option- not vegetable casseroles or vegetables coated in butter and brown sugar). Then that last 25% of your plate can be dedicated to the bad stuff. One calorie dense side is not going to completely blow your diet.
4) Another thing about those vegetables… Sometimes the veggies are deceiving. We normally think that veggies are the healthiest thing we could eat during the holidays, but some of the cooked vegetable recipes have so much butter and sugar in them that you may as well be eating dessert. The moral of this story is that if those veggies don’t look like they were steamed or are being served raw, skip them and have that extra piece of pie. It probably has the same amount of calories.
5) Lastly, be thankful. The holidays are so busy that we often forget to stop and enjoy them. Take the time to breath every once in a while this holiday season, and cherish the time you spend with friends and family. Having time off of dental school gives us a unique opportunity to slow down our minds and reflect on our lives. Use this time to be grateful for the opportunity to study dentistry even though it’s tough. No matter what is going on in everyone’s personal lives, we are all lucky to be pursuing a career we are passionate about.