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Tips on Making Your Holidays Healthy

photo of healthy holiday meal on plateThe key to good health during the holidays is to remember that the season does not last forever. If you’re not careful, then you’ll find yourself holding onto a few extra pounds by the start of a new year. However, making a few minor adjustments to your holiday routine will keep you in tiptop shape.

Diet

An easy way to keep your diet on track is to use healthy substitutions in place of regular ingredients.

  • Substituting olive oil in place of butter will eliminate cholesterol and add good fats to a dish. In addition, using it to baked goods and dinner items will help with nutrient absorption in the intestines.
  • By incorporating herbs and spices in holiday food, you can reduce the sodium content. These ingredients will enhance the natural flavors of a dish, reduce inflammation and alleviate gas.
  • Replacing white flour with whole grain flour is a simple way to bring fiber and other nutrients into your holiday meals. Using it will keep you full and help stabilize your blood sugar level.
  • Many holiday recipes call for the use of high-fat creams. However, you can still get the same great taste by using a low-fat alternative. Ingredients such as yogurt and half-and-half will reduce the fat content without removing the protein.
  • Dishes that require copious amounts of sugar can be made healthier with the help of honey. Unlike sugar, it is unprocessed and still contains most of its natural nutrients. Honey is also lower on the glycemic index and will help maintain blood sugar levels.

Exercise

The cold weather of the holiday season has many people headed towards their fireplaces instead of the gym. However, exercising during the holidays is not as difficult as it may seem.

  • A simple way to burn a few extra calories is to go shopping. While online shopping is extremely convenient, shopping at the mall can burn the average shopper an extra 1,500 calories over the course of a month.
  • Get into the spirit of fitness by incorporating games and relays during holiday parties. Games that involve running, jumping and passing will improve blood circulation and keep the digestive tract running smoothly.
  • Sitting around telling stories with family will undoubtedly give you a great workout. A good belly laugh reduces the stress hormone that increases belly fat. Likewise, laughter will help the digestive system with absorption.

Sleep

A good night’s rest is often overlooked during the holiday season. However, it is essential for the body to perform at an optimal level. Those buttery, sugary treats will quickly add up and wreak havoc on the average digestive system. Getting enough sleep each night will give your digestive system the necessary time to rest and recuperate from the damage. It will also reduce your body’s cravings for excessive sugar and caffeine.

It is possible to make it through the holiday season without having to choose between good fun and good health. With a few simple adjustments, you can have the best of both worlds.

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