Secrets to Surviving the Holidays

Secrets to Surviving the Holidays

Happy holidays! This time of year often brings gatherings with family and friends. However, all that merrymaking can also bring busy schedules, the potential to spread yourself too thin, and food… lots and lots of food. Worried that the revelry of the holidays might derail your healthy habits? Take a deep breath, we’re here to help. Here’s 5 simple secrets for surviving the holidays:

Keep a routine

With the slew of friendly gatherings, work commitments, and a to-do list longer than Santa’s, you might find that the holidays are starting to hijack your schedule. If you are able, try to keep some normalcy to your days between all the commitments – you might find that having something consistent to return to makes the hectic schedules feel more manageable. Not sure where to start? Break out a planner (electronic or paper) and start jotting down all your events. Knowing what is coming throughout the week will help ensure nothing slips through the cracks. And in between? Include anything that keeps your weeks feeling normal and sane – work schedules, date nights, exercise classes, meditation, time to read before bed, whatever grounds and resets you!

New twist, old classic

Holiday favorites may be steeped in tradition, but even traditions need a refresh from time to time. Green bean casserole, meet these updated green bean recipes. Goodbye marshmallow-y sweet potatoes, hello toasty and nutty casserole and refreshing and zingy salad. Give your latkes a break from the oil and pop them in the oven for a lightened-up version. Looking for a lower-carb take on the classic? Check out these yummy zucchini latkes

Pro-tip: if you’re watching your sodium intake, this is a great opportunity to try some new low-salt cooking techniques or spice blends – just be sure to bring enough to share!

Tune into to your needs

We know we say this a lot, but take a moment to check in with yourself, especially during this time of year. It can be easy to get swept up in the rush of the season, but try to think about what’s best for you and your wellbeing. Do you actually feel like attending your sister-in-law’s pre-Thanksgiving party? Holding back on that slice of pie that you really want? A night in sound better than cocktails out? Your aunt trying to give you a big spoonful of her “famous” jello salad? Whether it be a helping of food, an invitation, or simply figuring out how to spend a quiet weekend, ask yourself what sounds best for you and your health, and give yourself permission to do just that.

Enjoy yourself

Many of our celebrations feature delicious and bountiful meals that are meant to be enjoyed. Rather than fret over these gatherings, or deprive yourself of your favorites, give yourself the permission to savor the flavor of the holidays. Looking to balance all the yummy options without overindulging? Break out the Brook Healthy Plate model for holiday meals! Load up your plate with veggie sides, grab a holiday protein, and use up the last quarter of your plate to have tastes of all the carbohydrate options. That slice of pie? If it’s calling to you, have it and enjoy it fully. And if you’re in need of a reminder that your food choices are up to you, check out the Intuitive Eaters Holiday Bill of Rights for some extra empowerment “oomf.” And don’t forget to talk to your Brook Health Coach about ways to incorporate Mindful Eating into your meals.

Plan movement

Cold weather and cozy living rooms sure do make it tempting to stay indoors, but what about taking a break from the indoor cheer for some fresh air? Indulging in some winter activities can help keep you active all winter long, and it creates a nice chance to connect with friends in a way that doesn’t involve food. Bonus points for the peace and calm that comes from being in nature. Hit the snow trails with some cross country skis or snowshoes, or indulge in a friendly snowball war for some more light-hearted fun. No snow to frolic in? Check out a new walking path, or an old favorite with beautiful winter views.

Note: before starting a new routine or making drastic changes to your existing one, be sure to check in with your doctor.

Check in with your Brook Health Coach to chat recipes, physical activity, and self-care tips to keep you in top form through the new year.

Image of Brook Health Expert Kelsea
Reviewed by Kelsea Hoover, MS, RDN​

on November 16, 2022. Kelsea is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA.