Chocolate chips, peppermint sticks, and too many cocktails. Sound familiar? With all of the festive parties, cookie baking, and big meals, it can be extremely difficult to remain healthy through the holidays. Remember that it’s also cold and flu season, and if you throw enough insults at your immune system you’re likely to end up in bed instead of celebrating the season with family and friends. Here are ten health holiday tips to help you glide through the season without packing on the pounds or catching a nasty bug.
- Replace white sugar with local raw honey. Raw honey is wonderful in homemade hot cocoa and baked goods; and, unlike white sugar, contains valuable nutrients.
- Avoid baking with or eating refined flour products (especially gluten). Experiment with almond flour and coconut flour for more nutritious treats that are gentler on blood sugar levels.
- Eat more vegetables! Offer to bring a veggie tray to a party with hummus or homemade guacamole for dipping. You can munch away guilt-free while giving your immune system a major boost!
- Consider a mocktail instead of a cocktail. Too much alcohol is dehydrating, burdens the liver, provides empty calories, and, let’s face it, makes you feel horrible in the morning. Try a mock-tail made with pomegranate juice and sparking water. Not only are you avoiding the pitfalls of too much alcohol, you are doing your immune system a favor by drinking a glass full of antioxidants!
- Spice things up! Culinary spices are packed with powerful phytonutrients that provide antioxidant protection and immune support. Sprinkle extra cinnamon on your oatmeal, put a dash of cumin or cayenne on your eggs, and make some homemade fresh ginger tea.
- Make time for exercise. Don’t wait until the New Year to begin your exercise resolution. You’ll be more likely to hit the gym come January if you get into a routine now!
- Get adequate rest. Staying up late, eating poorly, and drinking too much wreak havoc on the immune system. Aim for at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Drink plenty of pure water. Your goal should be to take in half of your body weight in ounces per day. It’s a great way to flush out toxins and keep your energy levels up.
- Take your supplements. My top choices for immune-boosting supplements include vitamins C, D, and E, probiotics, and fish oil.
- If you decide to indulge in a holiday treat (and I suggest that you do), make it a conscious choice. Instead of mindlessly inhaling some mediocre cookies, choose a small serving of your favorite holiday dessert, sit down, and savor every bite.
Have a wonderful holiday season. Until next time, make every bite count!