Keeping the holidays healthy

It’s easy to indulge when holiday treats are in abundance.
It’s easy to indulge when holiday treats are in abundance. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The holidays may bring with them tempting treats and multiple opportunities to indulge. In addition, schedules are often busier than usual, resulting in less exercise, quick, unhealthy meals and stress. Not to worry, here are some things you can start doing today to set yourself up for success.

1. Set realistic goals – Don’t try to do it all! You may find yourself stressed and exhausted. Prioritize your favorite holiday activities and traditions. Focus on enjoying the ones that bring you the most joy. This time of year may not be the best time to focus on losing weight. Instead, maybe focus on maintaining your weight.

2. Stay active – You may need to adjust your workout schedule to save time. You can also stay active by finding ways to move more. Take the stairs instead of elevator. Park the car a little further away in the parking lot. Do a few more laps around the mall when shopping. Sign up for that holiday 5k or just dance around the house to your favorite holiday music.

3. Take the focus off food – Plan and enjoy events that involve friends, family and fun rather than food. Make new healthy holiday traditions that don’t involve food such as working on a fun holiday craft. Read a holiday book or have a holiday movie marathon. Play board games or cards. Volunteer in your community. Look at old family pictures. Decorate the house.

4. Manage your splurges – Decrease frequency and portion sizes. When you are at an event where food is involved, balance higher calorie treats with healthy lean proteins, low-fat dairy products and whole grains. Load your plate with fiber rich fruits and vegetables that can fill you up and leave less room for those high calorie items.

5. Be assertive – The holiday rush can sometimes leave you exhausted. Remember that it is okay to say, “No, thank you.” Don’t feel guilty for declining offers for food, sweets or beverages when you aren’t hungry or don’t want them.

Laura Johnson is a registered dietitian at Sutter Health-Sutter Gould Medical Foundation.