The countdown has begun to the holiday season. Navigating the season and keeping up our healthy habits is always a challenge. So many temptations and busyness can de-rail anyone from good intentions. Donna Krug, Director and Family Consumer Science Extension Agent, and I recently presented about this topic in Great Bend. We found a great resource from Cleveland State University, entitled Healthy Holiday Survival Guide, that we included in our presentation. The tips below are meant to be simple and straight forward and not overwhelming. Keeping things simple during this season is key. So even if you only pick one or two items to be intentional about, that is a great approach to these suggestions.
1. Eat slowly-allow your brain to catch up and your body to feel satisfied by slowing down, putting your fork down, and visiting with those around you.
2. Drink water- sometimes our hunger cues are mistaken for being thirsty. Find a way to keep a water bottle near and drink water before attending events.
3. Don’t stress-easier said then done, I know! Prioritize what’s important and meaningful to you and your family and leave the rest. Find time for fun and relaxation.
4. Beware of liquid calories-alcohol, egg nog, soda, and lattes contain a lot of calories. Be aware of how many of these you drink because they go down easy and are often a forgotten source of calories.
5. Easy recipe substitutions-unsweetened applesauce for oil, lower fat milk for whole milk, whole wheat flour instead of white flour, extra virgin olive oil for butter, turkey instead of beef, low fat yogurt instead of sour cream, and herbs instead of salt are great substitutions that don’t sacrifice flavor.
6. Don’t forget to workout-find a way to be active even if you can’t get to the gym. Some examples include take the stairs, park farther away from doors, march in place or do squats during commercials when watching TV.
7. Wash your hands-because being sick during the holidays is no fun at all. Get rid of germs as often as possible by washing hands frequently.
8. Do something for others - it can be therapeutic to help others during the holiday season.
Which one or two will you choose to be intentional about this holiday season?
Monique Koerner is the Family and Community Wellness Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. You may reach her at: 785-628-9430 or email@example.com.