It’s about to start. Thanksgiving is just a few days away, so the holiday season will soon be officially upon us. Although this can be a fun time of year, it can also be stressful. You may feel like you have a million things to do—and not enough time to do all of them.
Before you get caught up in the holiday madness, take some time to devise a game plan. These next few weeks don’t have to wreak havoc on your health, so consider these suggestions:
· Be Creative. If you’re planning the holiday menu, offer a variety of heart-healthy foods. Lean turkey is great, as are roasted vegetables. Flavor dishes with onions, celery, and spices instead of high-sodium broth. Steer clear of creamy casseroles and cheesy sauces. For dessert, be sure to make fresh fruit an option.
· Think Ahead. Before you attend a get-together, treat yourself to a low-calorie, high-protein snack (try peanut butter on apple slices). This will prevent you from being quite so hungry when the hors d’oeuvres are served.
· Watch Your Portions. At holiday dinners and parties, you’ll be surrounded by an array of high-calorie and high-fat foods. You should try to focus on fruits, veggies, and lean protein, but that can be tough. If you just have to indulge in the stuffing and gravy, make it a spoonful or two. And no seconds!
· Go Easy on the Booze. This time of year, nearly every host will be handing you a glass of wine or eggnog. You may want to take part, but don’t overdo it. Most doctors recommend no more than one drink a day for women, two for men. Remember that drinking alcohol may encourage you to eat more—and it can lead to a much-regretted hangover the next day. Who has time for that?
· Be a People Person. No matter how elaborate the buffet table is, remind yourself that eating does not have to be the main attraction of every party. Instead, spend time catching up with friends or playing a game with the kids.
· Stick to Your Routine. When you’re busy, does exercise take a backseat? Don’t let it. Do everything you can to carve out your 30 minutes of exercise each day. Remember that breaking a sweat will help you manage stress—and it will burn off that sliver of apple pie you couldn’t do without.
· Write It Down. Between shopping and entertaining, you may feel overwhelmed. One way to combat the craziness is to make a list. Keep a running tab of all the things you need to accomplish and check them off as you go. It’s a simple idea, but it will help you stay more organized.
· Put Your Feet Up. Do you feel obligated to say yes to everyone? Try not to. Consider all the causes and events you’re invited to, and attend only the ones that really matter to you. Take a night off just to read a good book or watch a movie with your family.
To learn more about good nutrition year-round, contact North Hills Hospital. Serving North Richland Hills and surrounding Northeast Tarrant County, we’re here to answer all your questions.