christmas cookies and pine leaves

December – Staying Healthy through the Holiday Season

Quick Summary

  • The holiday season is filled with happiness and joyfulness, so don’t feel guilty if you overindulge. Instead, plan your next meal and make sure the next meal is balanced and joyful!

Welcome to December! December is the year’s final month, filled with joyful holidays and happiness. A big challenge is to have fun and enjoy the holidays without jeopardizing some of the healthy habits you have. It is easy to increase daily calorie intake during the holiday season by just having a few extra cookies or a tumbler of eggnog. Don’t feel bad about having treats during the holiday season. Here are some useful tips to help you stay healthy through the joyful holiday season!

1. Eat Before You Go

               Don’t go to a party with an empty stomach. Having some healthy snacks before coming to a party can help you reduce hunger feeling and reduce the risk of overindulging. According to Harvard Health, “an excellent pre-party snack combines complex carbohydrates with protein and unsaturated fat, like apple slices with peanut butter or a slice of turkey and cheese on whole-wheat pita bread”. 

2. Start with a Salad

               Starting your holiday meal with a simple salad can help increase your vegetable intake and keep your appetite in check. A colorful, simple salad with vegetables and fruits contains plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber which can help you feel full longer and may have less room for other high-calorie foods.

3. Chew More Before Swallowing 

               Chewing food more at a slower pace before swallowing may reduce overall food intake. Chewing is an important part of the digestive process and may help increase the amount of nutrients intake from food. Eating slowly by chewing more can help increase your enjoyment of food, improve your digestion, and make you feel more in control. 

4. Think Before Choosing

       Festive meals usually consist of a variety of delicious foods. Before choosing, look at all the dishes, and think about your favorite or must-try dishes. Start with small portions of each dish you choose and enjoy your food. If you still feel hungry after finishing your plate, take a break before you get another plate because it takes time for your brain to get the “I’m full now” signal from your stomach

5. Watch the Liquid Calories 

               Beware of the calories if you plan to drink cocktails, hot chocolate, sugary sodas, or other traditional drinks during a holiday party. One cup of eggnog contains about 300 calories, and one cup of hot chocolate contains about 200 calories. Instead, you can have a glass of sparkling water with a splash of your favorite juice or wine. Between meals, you can drink water and save your holiday drinks for the meal. A refreshing homemade infused water is also an excellent festive meal partner.

6. Be active

               During the holiday season, chat more with friends or family instead of lying on the sofa or bed. Try not to stand next to the food table while chatting, and that makes it harder to mindlessly reach and eat food or snacks while chatting. Having a walk after the feast can help improve digestion and heart health.

7. Don’t Feel Guilty

               If you overeat one meal, you can always plan a balanced meal for your next meal. Ensuring your next meal is balanced is more important than feeling guilty about the last overindulged meal. Don’t let the bad mood destroy your holiday. The holiday season is filled with happiness and joyfulness, so don’t feel guilty if you overindulge. Instead, plan your next meal and make sure the next meal is balanced and joyful.     



Seasonal Foods and Recipes

A nice bowl of hot soup on a cold winter day can keep you stay warm.  Here are some healthy soup recipes you can make to stay warm and healthy.

Turkey and Squash Soup

This Southwestern-inspired turkey-and-squash soup gets a little kick from crushed red pepper and some zing from fresh lime juice.

Sweet and Sour Beef-Cabbage Soup

This colorful sweet-and-sour soup combines beef, caraway seeds, sweet paprika and cabbage.

Vegan Cabbage Soup

This flavorful vegan soup is spiked with garlic, tomatoes and a hint of coriander.

Hearty Minestrone

This Italian classic soup Minestrone is packed with leeks, potatoes, beans, zucchini, spinach and orzo.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with Kale

This healthy, easy soup is loaded with vegetables, protein and fiber to keep you full and fueled.



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