Really, that’s going to be the topic, staying healthy during the holidays? The few moments in a year where you have an excuse to indulge in less-than-healthy food choices? When can you enjoy holiday parties, spend time with friends and loved ones and not think about staying healthy?
Well, this might be a downer of a topic, but you do want to spend MORE holidays with family and friends, right? That means while you don’t have to be super strict about having a healthy lifestyle (enjoy the holidays, seriously), you can take steps to ensure that your holiday health is as good as possible.
After all, you don’t want to be spending time in the hospital or consulting your doctor in family medicine instead of celebrating, right?
So how do you stay as healthy as possible during the holiday season? In no particular order, here are five tips for staying healthy (as healthy as can be, at least) during Christmas and New Year!
How to stay healthy during the holiday season: Wash your hands.
Washing hands is something that is severely underrated in keeping good health. And it’s also something you should do for yourself especially during this holiday season, as the holiday season is also flu season, and we know that washing hands can help prevent you from getting infected.
So if you don’t have your flu shot yet, better safe than sorry!
Oh, and a non-flu reason: your hands go everywhere. So you might not pick up the flu, but you might pick up something else. And if you’re the one who’s assigned to prepare food, you don’t want people getting sick just because you didn’t wash your hands, right?
Make sure to follow proper guidelines in washing hands so that you know what you’re doing is really effective.
How to stay healthy during the holiday season: Drink water and stay hydrated.
Since it’s cooler during this holiday season, you might forget to drink water. Plus, when you’re at a holiday party, there’s likely alcohol, fruit juices, soda and plenty of other more interesting things to drink than plain old water, right?
Well, as much as water is boring, we still need a lot of it to keep our holiday health. After all, not only does water make up 60% of our body’s total weight (which we need to maintain), we also need water for several important bodily functions such as delivering nutrients to the body.
Without enough water, you become dehydrated. And when you become dehydrated, you’ll feel hungry, sluggish, and tired, which can make you miss workouts, eat not-so-good foods, and snack.
So sure, try the delicious drinks that are available, but as Healthline recommends, make sure to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
And if you’re indulging in alcohol, alternate each sip with a glass of water. Trust us, you’ll love yourself when you wake up the next day.
How to stay healthy during the holiday season: Get plenty of sleep.
One reason we personally love the holidays is that there’s less activity, and that means more time for sleep! It’s such an underrated activity, but hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
And when you have enough sleep, you’ll just feel really good!
The problem is that with so many holiday activities that are coming up with family and friends, you might find yourself not getting that at all. That’s especially if you’re the one doing cooking for family dinners, or you’re taking care of last-minute Christmas orders.
But as much as you can, try to stick to a regular bedtime every night, despite all the happenings. When you don’t have sleep, you’ll experience fatigue and you’ll be grumpy and cranky, so you won’t enjoy the holidays.
Plus, when you lack sleep, you can experience the following:
- Short-term problems like lack of alertness, daytime sleepiness, bad memory, and relationship problems.
- Long-term serious health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, lower sex drive, and obesity.
- A less-than-ideal appearance, with you having more wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes.
Make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep to get its full benefits!
Stay healthy during holidays by not forgetting to do physical activity.
Holidays can be an excuse to lounge around the bed or the sofa all day, but don’t do that! Don’t forget to keep moving and exercise. Not only can it help you shed some unwanted pounds that you will acquire over the holidays, exercise will also help blood flow and circulation, which is always good for your heart and for your health overall.
And don’t worry, you don’t even have to go to the gym or do hardcore jogging. A simple walk around the street will do – what’s important is you get exercise in, no matter how small or how short.
You can also use this as an excuse to have physical bonding activities with your family. If your child likes soccer or basketball, indulge them. You can also do other things like Tag, hide-and-seek, or plenty of other Filipino children’s games – at least, if you can handle the exertion!
One more tip to staying healthy: Remember that you don’t have to eat unhealthily.
Okay, so we made mention that the holidays are usually an excuse to NOT be healthy, right? But if you really want to know how to eat healthy during the holidays, well, here’s what you should know:
You are under no circumstances obligated to overeat during the holidays at all. Sure, your aunt or mom or grandfather will likely urge you on to eat, eat, eat until you’re stuffed, but you can always say no politely, or say you’re full.
And if you really want to stick to healthy food choices during Christmas and New Year, there’s nothing wrong with that either! If you’re hosting, make sure to prepare fruits and vegetables for yourself. And hey, you never know if some of your guests are actually looking for them as well, right?
And if you do want to indulge a bit, remember that portion control is your best friend. Use small plates. Before going over to the less healthy offerings, fill up first with healthier food. That way, you’ll have less space for other food.
Most of all, if you don’t feel hungry, STOP EATING. It’s that simple, really.
Final thoughts: why holidays are good for your health, despite the indulgence
Those are just some tips on how to stay healthy during the holiday season. Take note that these are by no means medical advice from doctors (we’re not a health blog after all), so if you’re really sick or need a physician, please see one immediately.
Going back, we don’t want to cause you any undue holiday stress, so don’t feel any pressure to form any healthy habits or start eating healthy food or even experience weight loss during this time. At the end of the day, a holiday is to be enjoyed, not a reason for you to feel guilty. You can always go back to trying healthy living when the holidays are over, right?
And ultimately, do you know why holidays are good for you, despite you being more likely to eat and drink not-necessarily healthy food and gain weight?
Well, according to the Better Health Channel, spending time with family and friends or simply just a loved one is good for your health and wellbeing, and can even strengthen your immune system. When you don’t have social connections, your physical, emotional, and mental health are all poorer.
Plus, holiday seasons usually mean vacations! That means you can relax and cut down on working (or even overworking), and just generally enjoy the long downtime. Sure, you might experience some weight gain or something, but as long as you generally don’t overeat every single night, that’s fine.
And besides, over the holidays, you’re likely to just gain a pound or two. But still, keep everything in moderation throughout the holiday season, yes?
Speaking of favorite holiday food and how to stay healthy during the festive season…
We know avoiding some of your favorite holiday food is hard, to say the least. After all, we’re Pinoys – we love food, like Christmas ham. And one thing we Pinoys never run out of is Christmas party food ideas.
And one of the things we really love to eat especially during this season (actually, even if there’s no occasion) is kakanin. But these native delicacies are packed full of sugar. Do we really have to avoid these as much as possible or risk seeing our primary care physician, especially if we already have a medical condition?
That’s right! A guilt-free holiday season is now possible thanks to our resident Keto advocate! You’ll be able to learn recipes for two kinds of bibingka, puto bumbong, and even a bonus recipe for tsokolate de batirol – all free of sugar!
You’ll be able to indulge in these because they won’t fall under the food you shouldn’t eat while on the keto diet!
So what are you waiting for? Sign up at The Bailiwick Academy, learn these healthy recipes, and truly enjoy a favorite holiday of Filipinos!
And we bet that once people find out you’re capable of making sugar-free goodies… Well, let’s just say they might be ordering a lot from you! Talk about a truly happy holiday, wouldn’t you agree?
Keep coming back to The Bailiwick Academy blog for more kitchen tips, tricks, and much more!