The holidays are in full swing and with it, office potlucks, cookies and eggnog. Hectic schedules and holiday parties can test the healthy habits of even the most disciplined among us. What if we could keep some semblance of health in the holidays without compromising all the best parts of the season – connection, gratitude, celebration and yes, delicious indulgence? Here are some tried and true tips to keep you energized, balanced and focused on what matters most all season long.
- Make ½ your plate veggies – this is one of the easiest tricks out there and one we can practice every day. Simply focusing meals on nutrient dense, colorful, seasonal veggies means there is just a little less room for everything else.
- Make the focus of holiday gatherings more on friends and family and less on dinner and dessert. Engaging in thoughtful, connected conversations may make your time more memorable and leave you feeling more satisfied and less weighed down with heavy food and drink.
- Stay well hydrated. This is important all year long, but during the holidays it’s especially easy to forget the simple things, like drinking enough water. Staying hydrated can keep you energized and clear headed and can help keep appetite in better check.
- Strategize indulgence. Think about how you will eat and move during the day to make room for all the evening’s festivities have to offer. Also consider the special foods you’d like to splurge on and pass on the things you can have any day of the week.
- Mix some movement into your day. While you may not have as much time as usual to devote to physical activity, it’s one of the best strategies to keep you energized and resilient, able to manage the stress of the season. The best part is your body may be just a bit more forgiving when it comes to that second slice of cake.
- Begin a gratitude practice. It’s easy to do and takes very little extra time and effort. Try sending one text message each morning between now and New Year’s to the people you appreciate most in your life.
- Most importantly, forget all or nothing thinking! One of the most common pitfalls of the season is letting ourselves believe we have ‘blown it’ and should leave healthy for a January resolution. One little hiccup doesn’t mean it’s all over. Wake up the next morning, shrug it off and get right back on track with a healthy, balanced breakfast.
Incorporate these tips and don’t just survive the holidays – thrive! Simple strategies can make the difference between an exhausted, stressed season or an energized, healthy, and connected one. These tips can help build resiliency so you can move into 2019 prepared for a strong start to the new year.
Include more veggies and balance holiday indulgences with this hearty, seasonal salad.
Persimmon Garlic-Thyme Chicken Salad with Lemon Citrus Vinaigrette
1 1b mixed greens
1 1b chicken breast
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbs minced garlic
2 tsp dried thyme
4 cups steamed quinoa
2 cups seeded persimmon, chopped
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Dressing: Lemon Citrus Vinaigrette
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup lemon juice
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 ea shallots, mince
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
3 ea cloves garlic, minced
Chicken: In a large bowl, add olive oil, garlic and thyme. Combine chicken with marinade and let stand for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove chicken breasts from marinade and place on sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool and cut into ½ inch cubes.
Dressing: Combine all ingredients in blender except olive oil and blend. Add olive oil in slowly to emulsify. Season with salt and ground black pepper.
Salad: Place mixed greens, chicken breast, quinoa, persimmons and parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Drizzle with salad dressing. Combine evenly and serve.