Cookie trays filled with all your favorites, Grandma’s famous super creamy mashed potatoes, sweet glazed ham, and all those sugary cocktails… It’s that time of year time when indulging in all the holiday classics can make you feel like you’ve put on pounds just by looking at them. But we’re here to tell you that it is 100% possible to get through the holiday season WITHOUT gaining weight or feeling sluggish after a meal because you may have made one too many trips back to the buffet.

There are plenty of preventative measures you can take to keep yourself in check this holiday season, yet still be able to have fun with your friends and family.

There will inevitably be plenty of food-and-drink-filled parties throughout the holidays, and it’s up to you to be aware of just how much you’re consuming. It’s okay to raise that glass of champagne and say ‘Cheers’ to a festive occasion, but be cautious to limit your alcohol consumption. There are also a lot of healthy alternatives to alcohol that are just as festive. Kombucha (a fermented beverage with probiotics that comes in many different fun flavors), sparkling water with fresh fruit, or tea are just a few ideas.

When it comes to food, avoid going to a party with a roaring stomach. Have a healthy snack before heading out to celebrate — even better if it’s packed with fiber and protein, which will help keep you full and prevent you from potentially overeating. Since we do know that eating at these soirees is not always avoidable, especially if it’s a sit down dinner, remember to eat slowly and give your brain enough time to realize when you’re full. We also recommend saving room for the healthier choices. Make it a point to fill about three-quarters of your plate with veggies, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help with digestion. Starting a meal with a vegetable-based soup is a good way to fill up without taking in too many calories. If you’re nervous about whether there will be enough, if any, healthy options at the party, bring a dish that you know will meet your nutritional needs.

Most importantly, don’t feel as though you have to eat everything. Decide what’s worth having a full serving of, a few bites of, or not having at all. Choose the things that make your eyes bulge out of their sockets because it’s something you’ve been craving for months, or an extra special holiday treat you only get once a year — not the same old chips and dip you can have at any time, any day.

Being aware of your food intake during the holidays is important, but so is having a regular fitness regimen to balance everything out. We know your schedule may be pretty hectic during this time of year, so add exercise to your calendar as you would any other appointment. Sleep is just as important as exercise, as sleep deprivation increases the level of stress hormones and can make you feel moody, foggy, and hungry. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep and you should feel better, have less cravings, and much more balanced.

Additional tips include:
Washing your hands often to prevent the spreading of germs, especially when you’re shaking hands, hugging, and kissing cheeks often at a holiday gathering.
Making healthier treats to bring to parties. There are plenty of ingredient swaps, i.e. avocado instead of butter, applesauce or mashed banana instead of oil, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, etc.) Turn to your favorite healthy food bloggers for easy, yummy ideas.
Taking a digestive enzyme to help with the digestion of protein, gluten, dairy or just a heavy meal in general.

And if all of this isn’t enough… Don’t forget to carve out time for some self-care. It may be a good idea to schedule an acupuncture treatment the day after a dinner party or event where you anticipate having a lot to eat and drink. Acupuncture can help with digestive issues such as gas or bloating, two common symptoms that occur after a big meal. We’re here to help you tackle the holiday season! Give us a call today to schedule your appointment!

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