The holiday season has officially arrived and at this time of year, the healthy habits we practice routinely seem to take a backseat. It’s easy to engage in over-eating and indulging at social events, forget about moving our body and ditch the simple, healthy habits that make us thrive. So how can you stay in control over the holiday season? Here are the Hills Natural Health Centre’s 8 health tips to help you stay on track.

1. Eat Breakfast

Skipping breakfast to save room for later will only contribute to the excess consumption of foods and overeating throughout the day. Eating a nourishing breakfast, packed with nutrients is one of the most effective ways to keep on track over the holiday season and help to avoid overindulging and mindless snacking throughout the day. Eating a balanced breakfast will help to support your energy levels, stabilise blood sugar levels and support metabolism. How:

  • Enjoy a healthy, balanced breakfast every day
    • Overnight oats or porridge with yoghurt and fruit
    • Eggs with whole-grain toast and veggies (avocado, spinach and tomato)
    • A balanced smoothie with quality protein, healthy fats and fibre
  • Prepare and plan your breakfast in advance
  • Keep it simple and eat something you enjoy

2. Move your body

Just because it’s the holiday season, it doesn’t mean you have to forget about your normal healthy habits and exercise routine. Exercise is not only important for physical health but mental health too. It also helps to manage stress in the chaotic lead up to Christmas. How:

  • Aim for incidental forms of exercise where ever you can
  • Schedule it in and prioritise movement daily
  • Exercise and move your body first thing in the morning
  • Grab a friend or family member and go for a walk
  • Access a home work out
  • Have an active holiday season – games at the park and family walks

3. Limit alcohol

The holiday season is often a time of excess and this rings true when it comes to alcohol. Excess alcohol increases caloric intake and as well can easily influence our food choices. Try to avoid going overboard and putting a strain on your liver. How:

  • Schedule in alcohol-free nights each week
  • Drink water in between alcoholic drinks
  • Dilute alcohol with ice and sparkling water
  • Pour your own drinks to keep track of how much you’re drinking
  • Make sure you eat before alcohol consumption
  • Pace yourself in social situations

4. Practice mindful eating

Tune into your body’s hunger cues and check-in to see if you are actually hungry or just eating for the sake of it. You don’t have to eat because food is offered and you don’t have to force down a second serving just because the food is there. How:

  • Ask yourself – ‘Am I hungry?’ at social engagements or when reaching for a second serving
  • Chew your food mindfully
  • Understand what the feeling of ‘fullness’ is for you and how your body reacts when you overindulge

5. Prioritise sleep

It’s easy to ditch a regular sleep routine at this time of year when social engagements with friends and family fill up your calendar. A lack or disturbance of sleep can affect your appetite, immune system, metabolic function, hormones and energy and can contribute to overconsumption of food and sugary cravings. How:

  • Make sleep a priority and stick to your sleep routine throughout the holiday season
  • Reduce screen time before bed
  • Ditch the stimulants in the lead up to bed e.g. black tea, coffee, energy drinks and alcohol

6. Support digestion

Eating out often, overeating and heavily indulging on nutrient-void foods throughout the holiday season (refined sugars, dairy and simple carbohydrates) can often cause digestive upset. Rich and fatty foods often take longer to digest and can contribute to indigestion, reflux and pain paired with sluggish bowel movements. How:

  • Try to sit down and eat when at social events as this helps to relax the digestive tract and allows the digestive system to function properly and realise when it’s full
  • Avoid indulging late at night and going to bed on a full stomach
  • Take a pause. Before you reach for seconds, take a pause as it gives your body the chance to tell if you’re full or still hungry
  • Sip on teas e.g. chamomile, ginger or peppermint as they help to aid digestion and relax the stomach muscles after a meal
  • Consider a probiotic supplement to support healthy gut bacteria and to support digestive symptoms – For advice on probiotics chat with a practitioner here at the Hills Natural Health Centre.

7. Eat your veggies

When it comes to food during the holiday season, healthy eating habits seem to fly out the window yet it’s so important to continue to eat a variety of vegetables every day. They provide fibre to support digestive system health as well as a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. How:

  • Aim to create balanced meals daily, throughout the holiday period by sticking to a balanced plate formula:
    • Fill ½ your plate with a variety of veggies (think salads and leafy greens)
    • Fill ¼ of your plate with quality protein (eggs, red meat, poultry, fish etc.)
    • Fill ¼ of your plate with complex carbohydrates (brown rice, quinoa, oats, root veggies etc.)
  • Grate veggies into sauces
  • Blend veggies into smoothies
  • Snack on veggies when you’re hungry

8. Drink water

In a nutshell, dehydration leads to poor body function. Water is so important as it plays a role in almost every process within the body from metabolism, to detoxification and digestion. Chances are our healthy habits aren’t a top priority over the holiday season so here is a gentle reminder to stay hydrated. How:

  • • When you wake up have a large glass of water
  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you
  • Enjoy herbal teas throughout the day and try chilled

Of course, the most important part of the holiday season is to enjoy yourself and spend time with the people you love!

If you’re seeking advice or personalised support speak with one of our experienced practitioner’s here at the Hills Natural Health Centre.

At the Hills Natural Health Centre, our experienced team of practitioners use a holistic approach paired with evidence-based medicine to help support you on your health journey.

Book your FREE consultation here today or phone the clinic on (08) 9298 8332

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