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Four Tips to Caring for Yourself at the Holidays

Enjoy traditions and treats that come but once a year.

Updated 12/2020

Here are four of my tips to make caring for yourself, your loved ones, and celebrating the tastes of the season an easy part of your holiday to-do list:

1. Make a list. Check it twice. Think about all the wonderful seasonal treats you love. Choose your favorites and intentionally plan to enjoy them. Which foods can you swap out to make room for the holiday must-haves? What portion size will really satisfy you without ruining the moment by worrying about how much you ate? Have that.

2. Keep moving. Schedules can make it seem like there’s no time for exercise. But…exercise helps with stress, managing extra calories, and improving overall feelings of holiday cheer, so don’t miss the benefits by skipping it. Altering your routine versus deleting it will help you stay the health and wellness course during the holidays. Walk when you can, even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes. Do push-ups when you get out of bed. Walk up and down your stairs a few times. Little moments like this can easily fit into your busiest days.

3. Pick your position. Before you park yourself next to the table full of food and mindlessly nosh, take a moment to see if there is somewhere else to “land”.  Location is part of the plan. Fill your plate, enjoy what you take, and consider whether you really do want that second helping. If it’s a yes, choose it. If you’re already satisfied with what you took, that’s cool, too.

4. Eat party foods on party days. One of the easiest ways to keep track of your intake without ruining the moment is to consider the frequency and portion of your choices. I like to think of foods and beverages as every day, sometimes, and party foods. I think you’ll find it a fun and easy way to manage your choices, too!

Happy, Healthy Holidays!

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.