Food and Health Tips for the Holidays

health tips to not bingeYou’re preparing for a marathon of sorts – the holidays. For some, it a dash to the finish line – or perhaps a fight to the finish. Why not make this year’s holiday season be one of calm and enjoyment. You can start with fueling your mind and body to give you the energy you will need!

A Great Breakfast Jump Starts the Day

Eat a protein-rich breakfast before you leave home Skipping breakfast or eating high-sugar items like cookies and chocolate to keep you going will send your blood sugar spiking high and then dropping low.  Instead, choose yogurt, eggs or cheese, fruit, and toast with peanut or almond butter. These healthier options will keep stress chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline from coursing through your veins, keeping you calm and in control.

Are you a cookie monster?

Don’t bring excess cookies or chocolate into the house in advance of the holidays especially if you have weight issues. They’ll only get eaten (by you) and can increase glucose. This will make you cranky, tired and cause fluctuations of blood sugar and increase cravings. People eat a lot more over the holidays and there is a connection between food & mood. So if you don’t want to land up down in the dumps and exhausted for the holidays, stay away from too many pastries, heavy sauces or foods you know make you feel nauseated.

Tricks to keep from binging or drinking too much

Before you go to a holiday dinner, have a small snack before heading out the door such as yogurt and fruit, peanut butter and jam on toast. Eating something healthy before going to a social gathering will prevent hunger if a meal is being served later. Also, you’re less likely to binge on chips and other nibbles that are highly salted and have empty calories. Watch the amount of alcohol you’re consuming at work parties or home parties. And don’t drink on an empty stomach. Try to drink lots of water so you don’t say or do something you’ll be sorry for.

Keep to a good sleep routine. You’ll need your 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night to cope with added stresses. Poor sleep habits keep you jittery, irritable and feeling like you’re just dragging yourself around – certainly not happy. Don’t burn the midnight oil putting in extra work, wrapping gifts or writing greeting cards. Make sure to get plenty of sleep. Your mood will improve; you’ll boost your immune system and be more able to cope with a hectic schedule or sometimes stressful family parties.

Free time over the holidays?

If you have a lot of free time over the holidays – no family or significant other around, find other things to do.  Meet with friends who may be in the same boat as you. Go to movies, an art gallery or fun comedy show. If you enjoy being alone, you can catch up with throwing out junk, cleaning your cupboards or doing a project of some sort over the holidays.

Some people volunteer to help with meals to the needy delivering Meals on Wheels or working at one of the soup kitchens. You won’t be alone and you’ll help others celebrate. Helping others can lifts your spirits, you’ll increase feel good endorphins to your brain

Relative who annoys you

If you are with people in your family that annoy you or you can’t relate to, just chalk it up to a once or twice a year visit. Just smile and remain cordial. Keep it light. I don’t advise discussing politics or religion – two large topics that can get many into heated arguments.

Take time for some Deep breathing

If you find yourself getting stressed out, stop and breathe. Yes, breathe. “Take a minute to breathe deeply. To breathe properly you should breathe in to 2/3rds full, hold the breath for a moment, and then exhale completely and think I am calm. I can be calm with this difficult person. I’m okay.

If you deep breathe a few times a day, this small act can actually bring down blood pressure and calm anxious feelings, And you can do stress-relieving breathing anywhere—including the elevator or in the car (just don’t close your eyes!)  It’s great to deep breathe before going to an important meeting or before holiday parties.

Be in the moment

Another trick to halt anxiety and stress is to come into the present moment instead of thinking what else you have to do. Have you list ready and do one thing at a time without thinking of what’s next. Keep your mind on what is going on around you at all times and don’t text and walk at the same time – unless you want to bump in to poles or worse. Especially note where you parked your car at the mall!

Manage your time well – set out blocks of time one, two or three hours in your calendar for your many tasks. If you manage your time correctly, it can relieve a lot of stress. You won´t be worried about running late and trying to rush to catch up. Get hold of your day – become more organized. Make a list the night before of all the things you need to do the next day. Decide when you can do those chores and mark it in your calendar. Don’t drive from one end of the city to the other the same afternoon or evening. Try to schedule stops around the same areas if possible.