Tips from a realistic Registered Dietitian
Do… Drink your water. Seems a little too sensible, but often around the holidays, the weather is getting colder, and we are leaning more towards hot cocoa, chai tea, and lattes. While these all taste amazing, they are not providing our bodies with the hydration it needs to run properly. Without water, our body struggles to digest food, build muscles, balance our blood levels, and more!
QUICK TIP: Anytime you are having a hot beverage, match it with a glass of water. This small conscious effort helps give us the extra hydration boost our bodies needs while we are drinking those delicious warm drinks.
Do… Continue your workout routine. Of course, the holidays can get super busy, which means less time for going to the gym, going on walks outside, and playing sports with friends. However, we know that sticking with our exercise routine is SO IMPORTANT. By still making the gym a priority, you are preventing yourself from feeling sluggish and unmotivated around the holidays.
QUICK TIP: Struggling with time? Break up your movement throughout the day, instead of just going to the gym for an hour. Do ten squats when you wake up, march in place while you cook your eggs, do some lunges while you brush your teeth, keep your core engaged while you are driving to the store, speed walk down the mall- whatever it is you can do to add a little umph into your day, DO IT!
Do… Eat your veggies, fiber, and protein. I know, I know, sounds lame to have a dietitian to tell you to “eat your veggies”, but around the holidays, we have a bigger focus on cookies, cakes, and usually a few alcoholic beverages. These are all OKAY, but we need to still make sure we are fueling our bodies with the important stuff too, not cutting it out altogether. Our bodies have a hard time balancing our blood sugar and building muscle when we are only providing it with easily digestible sugars.
Don’t… waste your time talking about dieting. One of the MOST popular topics around the dinner table and at holiday parties can actually be dieting and body talk. Whether it’s how so-and-so lost x number of pounds doing x diet, or someone gained x number of pounds and they look different, none of these conversations add value to our lives.
QUICK TIP: Shift conversations that make you feel uncomfortable. If someone comments on your plate or weight, simply hit them with the “that’s such a boring topic, let’s talk about your family instead.” Not only does it get you out of an awkward situation you do
not want to be in, but it also has them thinking twice about saying a similar thing to the next person they talk to!
Don’t… restrict your favorite foods. Often we think we need to “save up” for a bigger meal by cutting back on breakfast, which can lead to dropping our blood sugars, and even binging later on. In another sense, we often feel the dessert we enjoy so much is too “bad” to enjoy, even in moderation, so we just avoid it all together. Letting yourself make peace with foods and enjoy them all evenly throughout the days is the best way to have a healthy relationship with food.
Overall, the holiday season brings so much joy to many of us, and the last thing we need is the added stressor of food insecurities putting a damper on things. If you feel this short read made you think a little deeper about your relationship with foods or opened your mind up to some new ideas you might try, you should check out my Navigating Nutrition through the Holiday Season online program. This self-guided program includes 6 video lessons, 4 detailed handouts, and 5 healthy recipes, and will provide you with all the education and tools you need to feel confident about your nutrition this holiday season! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase for only $29.99, the link will be sent to your personal email and give you full access indefinitely! I hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season!
-Melanie Wilkinson MS, RDN, LDN