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Healthy habits at the holidays

Snowy Hand of Friendship

Students pass the Bone Hand of Friendship in February 2013.

Traditionally, the holiday season is a time for great fun, but also a time that many let go of the of healthy lifestyle choices—sometimes without even knowing it.

This year, try something different. Instead of waiting until New Year’s Day for a resolution make a resolution right now to have a happy, healthy holiday season!

‘Tis the season to be eating. Many holiday events involve eating. Don’t deprive yourself and enjoy your favorite holiday treats. Just keep these tips in mind to not derail your overall wellness goals.

  • Keep an eye on portion sizes. Keep the Myplate model in mind when making up your plate at the dinner table. Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, a quarter whole grains, and the other quarter lean proteins.
  • Have a quick snack before you go to a holiday get together. Eating a snack with lean protein and some healthy fat will help you not have too many treats at the party. Have a handful of almonds and a banana, or a serving of Greek yogurt with frozen fruit.
  • Don’t forget to consider calories in your beverages! For instance, 8 ounces of egg nog contains 320 calories. Perhaps consider a smaller serving.
  • If you are of age and chose to drink alcohol, be sure to do so in moderation. Remember what constitutes a serving of alcohol. Do not more than three alcoholic drinks a day and drink water between beverages.

For more information on eating right, schedule a free one-on-one nutrition consultation available from Health Promotion and Wellness.

Make time to move, too!

Not only do we want to be conscience of what we eat during the holiday season, but physical activity is of the utmost importance as well. Exercise is especially important if we indulge at the holidays, as physical activity can help to keep the extra weight away. Added bonus: Exercise can also help with inevitable holiday stress.

Tips to increase physical activity during the holiday season include:

  • When shopping, park in the last row farthest from the store entrance.
  • Take the stairs, not the escalator or elevator at the mall.
  • Bundle up and go for a walk around the neighborhood to see the festive holiday lights.
  • Do some winter cleaning. Remember, during the spring you may want to be outside so winter is a great time to deep clean your indoors.
  • Speaking of cleaning, make preparing the house for holiday guests a family activity. Be active and have fun with it.
  • Play a game of family football instead of watching the game on TV.
  • Try a new class at your fitness center to shake things up.
  • Don’t want to leave the house because of the cold, snowy weather? Try a workout video or simply use a jump rope or free weights to get your heart rate up.
  • Remember, anything and everything adds up! If your schedule doesn’t allow for a long work out, fit in small bursts of activity wherever you can!

Most of all: Have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season!

 

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