Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season and ends when the leftovers from the New Year celebrations are gone. It doesn’t matter what you celebrate, be it Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or any other festive season; this period can be the most difficult time to follow heart-healthy habits!
Below a few tips to help you get through the holiday:
Tips for a Heart-Healthy Holiday diet:
- Don’t attend a holiday party on an empty stomach, to overfeeding at the party. Before going to the party, eat your normal meals and don’t skip any-one. Take a lot of water before you leave.
- Avoid having a conversation and mingling in the kitchen or by the buffet.
- Pay attention to the size of your serving. Moderation is important.
- Eat at a snail’s pace! Put down your fork in-between bites. If you eat at a slower pace, you’ll feel full when you’ve consumed enough.
- Stay away from food with high-fat content. Load your plate with healthy food choices such as fruits and vegetables.
- When going to a potluck dinner, take a healthy snack or meal with you.
- Bring healthy snacks with you when you’re shopping for food. NEVER shop for food on an empty stomach.
- If you’re in charge of the preparation, choose wholesome dishes that are prepared healthily.
- Try to bake, grill, or barbecue food. Steer clear of fried foods.
- Avoid making use of cream sauces. Try using low-fat sour cream and sauces.
- Try to use low-fat sprays or low-fat ingredients when baking.
- Try incorporating beans into your casseroles, salads, and appetizers. Beans add fiber to your food and make you feel satiated.
- Avoid using white flour; instead, choose whole wheat or grain products such as pasta, crackers, and bread.
- Dish up fresh fruit and veggies. To the dessert, selections add fresh fruit with low-fat cool cream/dark chocolate.
- Share teeny desserts that are low in fat.
- Make use of smaller plates to urge people to eat smaller portions.
- For the main course; serve fruit and vegetables, and meat as a side meal.
Drink tip for a Healthy Heart:
- Reduce your alcoholic beverages consumption to one or two a day.
- In-between your alcoholic drinks take a glass of water.
- Before and while consuming alcoholic beverages eat something.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Choose lighter drink options to reduce your calorie intake. Try spritzers, light beer, or a low-calorie cocktail. Avoid frozen drinks and beverages mixed with cream.
Tips for Heart-Healthy Activities:
- Take part in outings involving physical activities such as skiing, sledding, skating, and hiking.
- Consider parking at the point furthest away from the store at the mall to increase your walk time.
- Try window shopping and checkout every holiday decoration. Take your pedometer along with you and add up the steps you take. Target 10,000-steps a day!
- Dance at any party you go to during the holiday.
- In your daily routine, include exercise/physical activity. Exercising increases your level of energy.
- Take your dog or pet out for a walk and use that opportunity to enjoy the festive decorations around your neighborhood.
- Take part in Christmas caroling.
- Go into the forest to get your own Christmas tree.
- Whenever possible, use the stairs instead of the elevators.
Tips for coping with Holiday Stress
- Plan some time off for yourself to relax and relieve stress
- Learn a few techniques for relaxation and apply them during your stressful days. For example, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can be relaxing.
- When shopping for the holiday, add a chair massage for yourself.
- Don’t forget to have fun every day. Find some absurdity in daily life. Laughing is a good way to ease stress.
- Always try to keep an optimistic attitude and associate with happy people.
- Every day try to keep your focus off money issues. If you’ve made mistakes concerning your finances in the past, use them as a learning experience and avoid repeating the same errors or similar ones in the future.
Heart Healthy Gifts Ideas for the Holiday:
- Exercise objects such as resistance bands; workout balls; pedometers; heart rate monitors; gym mats; skipping ropes; exercise tapes, videos, and DVDs; foot wares, training outfits, and hand weights, all these are nice gifts ideas.
- Healthy-heart juicers, popcorn machines, and cookbooks.
- Healthy foods like the fruit of the month clubs, flavored olive oils, fruit baskets, various unsalted nuts, red wines, herbal/green teas, dark chocolates, and high-fiber baked goods.
- Stress-relieving remedies: gift vouchers for massage or health clubs, bath salts, aromatherapy candles, pillows, Yoga or Tai Chi videos, cassettes, and books.
- Give a gift of your time. Spend quality time with a senior family member, friends/neighbor. Offer to take anyone who needs help going to the doctor’s office/pharmacy, store.
- Propose the idea of being a work out buddy to someone just starting an exercise program. It brings more fun to exercise with a friend, and it will be beneficial for you both!
With Gratitude and Love