Simple Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season
Your holiday lifestyle is probably different than your usual routine. Maybe you consume more calories—a lot more if you’re like most people. Or maybe you stress over juggling social, work and family commitments. Or maybe the shopping, decorating and gift wrapping is enough to push you over the edge. Holiday stress can turn the “most wonderful” time of the year into the “least healthful.”
But you can help minimize weight gain and lower your chances of getting sick by following these tips:
Prevent Holiday Weight Gain
Americans gain between one and two pounds during the holidays. While that doesn’t sound like much, the real problem is that most people only shed half the weight they gain. If you’re doing the math—that’s a weight gain of 5 to 10 pounds over five years.
Here are some helpful hints to keep those pounds off:
- Keep your appetite under control while attending parties. Eat a light snack before arriving and drink plenty of water during an event. It'll help keep your appetite in check and portions under control.
- Be mindful of cocktail snacks. Keep track of the hors d’oeuvres and handfuls of nuts you eat. Mindless noshing equals extra calories.
- Be buffet savvy. Choosing fresh fruits and vegetables while skipping dishes with sauces, dressings, dips and marinades can help curb your fat intake.
- Be strategic about desserts. Fruit salad is nearly always the best choice if you’re watching calories. But if you want to indulge in your favorite dessert, choose a smaller portion. This will help you control calories without feeling deprived.
- Watch what you drink. Pouring a glass of club soda or sparkling water instead of an adult beverage or egg nog can help save hundreds of calories.
- Stay physically active. If holiday activities interfere with your regular exercise routine, click here to learn how to turn your holiday shopping trip into a workout.
Keep Your Immune System Strong
A number of holiday season variables can weaken your immune system, raising your risk of catching a cold or the flu. The following tips to help you strengthen your immune system:
- Get plenty of sleep, between seven and eight hours each night.
- Wash your hands regularly.
Add Health Related Items to Your Holiday Wish List
You can continue the healthy holiday spirit all year long by asking for health and wellness related gifts. Try these ideas:
- If you like to cook, ask for gadgets that can you prepare healthy homemade meals.
- If you struggle to fall asleep, ask for a sound therapy machine.
- Want to eat more plant-based foods? Ask for a membership to a fruit or vegetable of the month club.
- If you want to exercise more, ask for gift cards to fitness classes.
- Have limited strength and/or mobility? Ask for jar openers or grabbers or other tools that can help around the house.
Lastly, consult your MDVIP-affiliated physician. As part of the MDVIP Wellness Program, your doctor can customize a wellness plan for you and your needs, including suggestions for a healthy holiday season. Don’t have an MDVIP-affiliated doctor? MDVIP has a nationwide network of physicians. Find one near you and begin your partnership in health.
This blog was reviewed and updated in December 2020.