With the year’s biggest “food celebration” holidays quickly approaching, many of us are looking ahead with anticipation and anxiety. We anticipate enjoying our favorite holiday treats and meals, but we’re anxious about gaining weight and compromising our health. We’re looking forward to celebrating with friends and family, but worried about all the opportunities to overindulge.
But what if we looked at the holiday season in a different way? What if we saw it as an opportunity to develop new habits, instead of a time to fall back on old ones?
We think it’s possible to reframe holiday habits and traditions without sacrificing the fun, togetherness, and familiar flavors of the season. Many beloved holiday traditions revolve around food. Parties, family get-togethers, baking, and decorating cookies—they’re all about treats! Think about replacing a few of these with new ideas that are just as fun.
Here are a few new tips we’ve come up with to help you reimagine your holiday activities.
- Instead of an afternoon of cookie baking, invite friends or family over to make Christmas crafts (or another holiday item). You can do handmade ornaments, wreaths, garlands; there are plenty of craft project ideas for every skill level. If you have friends who knit or crochet, think about hosting a hat- or scarf-making challenge. You can exchange what you make with one another or donate them to a local charity.
- Switch things up at holiday dinners and potlucks. If you usually bring a rich, indulgent dish like a casserole or decadent dessert, try coming up with a healthy alternative with a special touch. How about a big green salad with pine nuts and pomegranate seeds? Or…
Get your ingredients at a Montgomery County farmers’ market! See our list at the bottom of this post!
- Start a new, active tradition. You don’t have to give up holiday movie nights or other indoor traditions—but consider starting a new one!
- Find a local Turkey Trot or Turkey “Burnoff” and sign up! That burst of energy and commitment to fitness might help jumpstart a healthier holiday season. These events usually have “fun runs” in addition to their 5 or 10K routes, so if you’re inexperienced or want to bring your kids along, do the fun run this year and work towards the next level for next year!
- If you’d rather not do something “official,” try taking more evening walks through your neighborhood or doing relay races with your kids in the backyard when weather permits.
- Rethink your everyday routine. If you know you’re going to a holiday party or dinner over the weekend, do little things to make the week ahead healthier.
- Get in some extra steps – Go on walks after lunches and dinners, park further away from your office, take the stairs.
- Try to meet the Nine-a-Day Challenge – Did you know that adults should be eating nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day? If that sounds impossible, challenge yourself every day to see how close you can get! It might be easier if you visualize what nine servings of fruits and vegetables looks like.
Healthy Holidays, Healthy New Year—Healthy New You!
If you try some healthy changes during the holidays this year, who knows? They might become healthy habits for life!
If you’re looking for a more structured plan for getting healthy, contact Fast Track and ask about our Silver Spring physician-supervised weight loss program.
Montgomery County Year-Round Farmers’ Markets
Get fresh, local ingredients for your healthy holiday recipes! These farmers’ markets in Montgomery County are open year-round (as of November 2014; please check each market’s website for hours and days of operation).
- Bethesda Central Farm Market
- Kensington Farmers Market
- Silver Spring Farmers Market
- Takoma Park Farmers Market
Here’s to a happy, healthy holiday season!