Whether fending off the office germs or navigating festive social situations, staying healthy can be more challenging this time of year.
The following are some things you can do to make sure you emerge out the other side unscathed.
It’s always easier to get going when you’re already moving. So start 2018 off on the right track by keeping things healthy throughout the holiday season.
If you can navigate social gatherings, making healthy choices in everyday life will seem even easier.
Healthy habits can help you throughout the festive season and beyond.
Because the habits that you build and reinforce now will be what leads you into the coming New Year.
So make sure you’ve already got the ball rolling before the calendar turns over.
6 tips to help you stay healthy during the holidays:
Tip #1. The power of why.
Reminding yourself why you want to be healthy makes all the difference.
Contrary to popular belief, sticking to a goal and achieving it is not about willpower. It’s not about forcing yourself to begrudgingly do something.
Motivation needs to come from a place of positivity.
To be successful at anything it needs to be your choice. You need to want it and know your reasons why.
It is those reasons, those “why’s” that will keep you on track. The “why-power”, if you will.
So, think about the reasons why you want to be healthy. What are the health benefits you most like about following a plant-based diet? Think of your primary motivations for doing so, and remind yourself of them daily.
Eventually it will just become second nature to you. But every now and again situations may arise when it is more difficult to eat the way you would like to.
At such times, remembering why you want to eat healthy will help you make better decisions when the options are more restricted.
So, focus on the why.
Tip #2. Plan ahead & be prepared.
Being prepared is always your best course of action.
Think ahead. Know what you’ll need food-wise and be sure to have it on hand.
As far as social situations go, knowing what options you’ll have available to you helps.
Don’t be afraid to check what ingredients will be used. Asking about ingredients that many people may not be thinking to mention, like oil, can make a big difference in you knowing whether you want to eat something or not. So ask away.
If you know in advance what food will be served, you can plan accordingly.
This could mean eating before hand or preparing a holiday dish you can take with you. Taking your own food means you know what’s in it and you feel comfortable eating it.
If the event isn’t a potluck, get in touch with the host and let them know you plan to bring some of your own “safe” food.
They don’t need to know the details, for “health reasons” should suffice. You can always share more if they seem legitimately interested.
And remember to always take enough to share. Chances are people will see your good looking plant-based dish and want to try it.
But regardless of the social situation, it’s always a good idea to pack a snack. You never know when it might need it.
Tip #3. It’s about the company not the food.
It’s not all about the food.
When it comes to eating healthy, social situations can be uncomfortable, especially when others don’t share your lifestyle.
At such occasions, you don’t necessarily know what foods are safe to eat or not. Plus, it can be a challenge communicating your health preferences to others in a way that they’re receptive to.
However, as much as it may seem like it at times, holidays aren’t all about the food.
They’re a time to spend with others. Holiday gatherings provide an opportunity to get to know colleagues better and to spend time with family and friends.
It’s important to be prepared food-wise, but it’s also important to spend time focusing on the social aspect of this time of year. The people-side.
If worse comes to worse you can always eat later, after the event.
Prepare ahead of time as much as you can so you have something to eat. But, once the gathering begins, put aside your food worries and focus on the company.
Because that whole human-connection thing really does have something going for it. Not that you should turn down a delicious, oil-free, plant-based dish if it happens to pass your way.
Tip #4. Stay active.
Throughout the holiday season be sure to take time to exercise.
Staying active will make it easier to want to eat healthy. Plus, it’ll keep you in a better mood.
Even just going for a walk can get you outside, spending time in nature, and breathing in some of that fresh, crisp winter air.
That in itself can be rejuvenating.
A bit of sun, if you’re so lucky this time of year, never did any harm either.
This time can also provide a needed respite from holiday busyness. Plus, exercise is a great stress reliever.
And stress doesn’t do much good for your health.
Find an activity you enjoy and stick with it. It doesn’t have to be intense exercise. It’s consistency that’s key.
Thirty minutes a day is good place to begin. And that way it’s something that will become a daily habit.
Again, once you’re moving it’s easier to keep moving. So daily exercise will ensure being active becomes a permanent part of your life.
Tip #5. Nature’s fast food.
As much as possible, reach for raw fruits and vegetables, especially if you’re snacking between meals.
They’re healthier, lower in calories, and will satisfy your hunger more than any processed foods could.
Maybe start the day with a fruit smoothie. Chop up a banana or two, toss in some frozen berries along with a handful of greens, and blend it all up. Even in the winter there are plenty of smoothies you can make.
Then grab a couple of bananas or cut up some apples or carrots before you leave in the morning and you should be set.
A bit of healthy snacking can help you avoid getting that “hangry” feeling. That’s something you certainly don’t need that with all the holiday festivities going on. Especially because we know they rarely feature a healthy smorgasbord.
So having that ready-to-go raw snack in your bag will help you avoid ending up outside the vending machine or digging through the staff room cookie supply in search of something to eat.
An added benefit of eating more raw fruit and vegetables is that they’ll provide you with more vitamin C. An immune boosting nutrient provided just as nature intended, from whole plant foods, is the best way to fend off those winter flu bugs.
Tip #6. Get some zzz’s.
Getting enough sleep each night allows your body to replenish itself.
So make sure you’re giving your body plenty of time to rest and repair after a long day.
This will help keep your immune system at it’s best to fend off any unwanted germs.
Sleep is an often underrated aspect of health, yet it’s one of the most important.
You can do all the exercise and eat all the raw fruits and vegetables you want, but if you don’t let your body rest and repair itself it’ll all be for naught.
So get to bed early and enjoy a nice, restful sleep. That way you can start fresh tomorrow.
Learn more about eating and living healthy with the Plant-Based Directory.