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Holiday Healthy – Written by Vicki DeRosa

“From what I’ve heard, the holiday season is a time when most people worry about blowing their diet. The month of December is full of holiday parties for work, friends and family that generally involve rich and often incredibly unhealthy foods. We all have at the very least one meal or party to got to that we know will not offer a “diet” option on the menu. So, how do you avoid gaining weight and risking sickness this time of year? I’d like to say “Easy!” but truthfully it will take a little effort on your part. There are some tips I’d like to share with you for how to maintain your healthy lifestyle during this glorious, but often unhealthy time of year.

Breakfast! While you might have a dinner party to go to every week, it’s very unlikely that you have a breakfast party planned. Pay closer than usual attention to what you eat for breakfast and make every calorie count. What do I mean by making your calories count? Simply this: make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamins, fiber and healthy protein out of your most important meal of the day. Grains, fruit and raw nuts or eggs are the way to go. You’ll feel full longer, making the cookies in the break room much easier to pass up. You’ll also be getting the materials needed to help break down the rich foods you might be eating later in the day or week. And you’ll be stocking up on vitamins that you might not get from dinner.

Snack throughout the day! Eating raw fruit, vegetables, beans and nuts throughout the day in small servings is a great way to keep your metabolism in high gear as well as keeping yourself full with healthy, nutritious foods!

Exercise a little extra. If you have holiday shopping to do, don’t drive around the mall parking lot looking for a close space. Park way, way out there! Get extra steps in wherever you can. I always say take the stairs, but really, TAKE THE STAIRS!!! A flight or three of stairs with a bunch of packages is great cardio. If you typically work out three times a week, up it to four. You may feel pressed for time, but that hustle and bustle feeling is one of the greatest parts of the season!

Eat before you go! Fill up on celery or raw spinach and almonds before you host or head to your gathering. I can’t stress this enough! If you’re going somewhere food is involve, don’t go super hungry! If you snack on the food served at least you won’t be counteracting all your hard work!

If you have options, eat what you know! Find the foods that you know have the most nutritional value and shy away from the foods that you know are empty calories, or worse filled with chemicals. For instance: Eggnog or apple cider? Apple cider. Hot wings or celery? Celery. Pretzels or Crudite? Crudite. And when it comes time for dessert, eat half! I’m not an advocate of wasting food, but in the case of dessert I don’t think it’s wrong to waste a little.

I don’t want to be a party pooper, but I also don’t want you to feel anxiety over any aspect of this beautiful time of year! I want you to know that all is not lost if you eat that chicken cordon bleu and mashed potatoes. No one puts holiday pounds on their wishlist, but just like socks and underwear, many people get them. Don’t sweat it (or do sweat it on those stairs). You now have the tools to avoid those unwanted gifts. The pounds, that is. I’m afraid I don’t have any tips on the socks or underwear.”

Read more about Vicki on her blog.

Happy New Year!

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