I love being with family, cooking, and celebrating, but more and more, I’m learning that I don't need to sacrifice my health and wellbeing to partake in these activities.
This year, why not make the holidays healthy? Why not use some great healthy substitutes that won't compromise your enjoyment or your health.
We work hard throughout the spring and summer to make sure we’re in tip-top shape, why throw it all away so quickly?
Here are my top 5 ways to stay healthy and in shape through the holidays:
1. Use healthy cooking substitutes.
There are so many ways to make holiday dishes and not use the common unhealthy foods (white flour, butter, sugar, and cream). Try some of these substitutes in your dishes.
- Instead of using white pastry flour, try some healthier flour alternatives! My favorite is a coconut oat flour blend. You can also try spelt, millet, rice, whole wheat, garbanzo and buckwheat flours!
- Try using cashew yogurt, coconut yogurt, or avocado in place of cream or butter in baked goods. The fat in these foods are much healthier and easier on the body than dairy fat. You won't even noticed the difference in cakes and muffins!
- Instead of processed white sugar, try using coconut sugar, zylotoal, stevia, raw honey, dates or molasses! I love using coconut sugar and dates, they both have a rich taste, almost like caramel. It's perfect for pies, cakes and cookies!
2. Stay active!
Many of us travel during the holidays and it’s easy to leave our workout routine at home. So many people to see, cocktails to drink and pies to eat! If you can work in at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day during the holidays, you’ll be able to start the new year with a little more faith in yourself!
My favorite non gym workouts:
- Go jogging! It's easy to do and all you need is a good pair of shoes and a fabulous playlist. I love using 8tracks to discover good running playlists.
- Find a playground or park and use it early in the morning before the kids get there. I use parks for box jumps, pull-ups, and dips. You can work in your squats and walking lunges as well.
- Jump rope. It’s just as good of a cardio workout as running. Do sets starting with 1 minute on 1 minute off and working your way up to 5 minutes on with 1 minute off. This is a great calorie buster.
- Get your computer to work for you. DVDs are a great choice when traveling. Most of us have computers and can just pop in our favorites. I love Tracy Anderson Method and take it whenever I travel. MindBodyGreen has a great streaming video course in yoga and you can find other online workout courses with a quick Google search.
3. Practice willpower.
Remember that you're in control, not your cravings, not your thoughts, not your ego mind. Your right mind will guide you to the good decisions. If you listen, you’ll have no trouble passing on that extra cookie.
4. Watch your alcohol intake and give yourself a drink maximum.
If you’re going to booze (and let's face it, many of us are), choose drinks that are lower in calories and use quality liquors. I always stick to organic wine or a really clean cocktail. Remember to drink water, I try to average one glass of water per drink. Set a limit, I always have a two drink maximum.
Here is my favorite recipe for a "clean" holiday cocktail.
Klean Kale Moijito
- 2 teaspoons xylitol or 5 drops of stevia
- 4 ounces white rum
- 1/4 cup cucumber juice
- 1/4 cup kale juice
- ½ cup packed mint leaves, plus 6 sprigs for garnish and muddling
- ¼ cup lime juice
Blend sweetener, rum, cucumber and mint. Strain and pour over two glasses filled with ice. Garnish with the mint sprigs and serve immediately
5. Keep some parts of your rhythm.
It’s hard to keep a rhythm when you’re traveling, but if you can keep a bit of your at-home routine with you on the road, it will help you stay centered and your transition back to "real" life will be a lot smoother! When I travel, I always keep my top three favorite routines.
- 10 Minutes of deep breathing
- Morning stretching or yoga
- skin brushing
Doing these three things keeps me positive and allows me to honor my lifestyle choices (healthy eating, working out, no processed foods, self awareness). I find when I do these things, I no longer feel the desire to overeat, skip the gym or fall into old lifestyle patterns.
I’m able to keep my presence and be healthy.