Healthy Habits Through the Holidays
It’s easy to overindulge during the holiday season, especially when there are parties, snacks and hosting-related pressures lurking around every corner. With so much going on, it can be tough to prioritize your health – but there are certain habits you might adopt during the holidays to give yourself a healthier start heading into the New Year.
While December might be a tough time to, say, start a diet, there are other steps you might take during this time that offer some surprising personal benefits. Consider making the following moves to boost your mood and health this holiday season.
Give to others
Simply put, giving feels good. Research shows that giving someone a gift releases oxytocin, which is a hormone that heightens feelings of warmth, euphoria and belonging.
Lift your spirits with festive clothing
Studies show that donning festive holiday attire can have major mood-boosting effects. A study conducted at California’s Pepperdine University showed that putting on festive attire makes you feel 75% cheerier within the first minute of doing so.
Reach for the eggnog
Did you know a daily glass of eggnog can cut your risk of illness by 33%? As an added bonus, adding a shot of rum to your glass makes you even less likely to get sick, so go ahead – spike it!
Dive into a good book
Find yourself with a little extra time off at year’s end? Don’t underestimate the power of a good book! Science says reading can kill a bad mood in half an hour, because it boosts activity in the part of the brain that generates feelings of contentment.
While giving to others, getting in the holiday spirit, downing eggnog and curling up with a good book can all help you feel happier as the year comes to an end, other efforts can help you feel healthier, too. Eating and drinking are often synonymous with the holiday season, but with a little effort, you should be able to strike a balance between over-restricting yourself and over-indulging.
Here are some ways to put a healthier twist on some of your favorite holiday flavors.
Swap regular potatoes for sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are at their peak in early winter. While they’re flavorful all on their own, we recommend swapping your standard potatoes au gratin or mashed potatoes and gravy for a maple syrup-sweetened sweet potato side.
Forgo cinnamon buns in favor of a veggie-forward breakfast casserole
Breakfast casseroles packed with tasty bread, fresh veggies, feta cheese and other goodies are a great way to feed a crowd – and they’re also a healthy, hearty alternative to sugary pastries or cinnamon buns.
Skip the carbs with crustless passable apps
Crustless, egg-based mini quiches can combine anything from caramelized onions and decadent cheeses to crisp bacon and broccoli and spinach. Bake ‘em up in a mini muffin tin for a fuss-free holiday breakfast or small bite.
Swap sour cream for low-cal Greek yogurt
Serving up veggies, crackers or chips with dip at your holiday soiree? Swap the sour cream for protein-rich Greek yogurt and just see if anyone notices.
It may be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but it’s also totally OK to feel overwhelmed as 2022 comes to a close. Taking these tips to heart can help you better navigate the holiday season – and give you a head start on a happy, healthy New Year, too.