It’s totally possible to stay healthy during the holidays – and Giada’s got the tips on how to do it!
The holidays tend to be synonymous with overindulgence, and while we won’t be saying no to some of the season’s best treats, there is definitely a fine line between consciously enjoying food and over-eating for the heck of it! Many of us look at it as a time to go wild and think about eating clean again in the New Year, but you can 100% enjoy all of the holiday festivities while maintaining a healthy attitude and lifestyle. Besides – nobody feels good waking up the day after indulging on a few too many Christmas cookies and glasses of wine. Take the bloat and sluggishness out of the equation, and you’ll likely might enjoy the holidays even more!
These are Giada’s tips for staying healthy during the holidays – and we promise they’re totally doable!
1. Goodbye, holiday hangover! When I talk about staying healthy during the holidays, it’s not just about the food – the drinking plays a big part! In our family’s Italian celebrations, the vino and amaro are always flowing, and it can get hard to keep track of how much you’ve been drinking. My trick is to always alternate between a cocktail or wine with a glass of sparkling water – the worst parts of a hangover are due to your body being dehydrated, after all. Additionally, excess of alcohol is also proven to increase the risk of breast cancer in women – so while I still like to embrace the celebrations, I always limit it to 3 drinks tops. Also, always chug down some water before you go to sleep. Sleep dehydrates you anyway, and alcohol in your system only makes it worse… so keep the hydration going!
2. Embrace the good fat – take it easy on the sugar! Take it from me, a total sugar addict – I fully understand how hard it is to limit consumption of sweets during the holidays. It is so hard for me to stay away from all the cookies and chocolates! For those who share the same struggle, my tip is to embrace fats instead of sugar at holiday gatherings… they’ll fill you up and actually keep you full, without the sugar crash! Of course, it’s best to choose healthier fats when possible- olives, hummus, dishes cooked in olive oil, etc, but even if you dip into the cheese and charcuterie board, it’s always smarter to eat more fats and nutrient-dense foods as opposed to going crazy on the sweets.
3. Bring intermittent fasting into the mix (2 days on, 1 day off). I’m a huge fan of intermittent fasting, and setting a guideline for yourself can make it easier to not overindulge. I recommend trying overnight intermittent fasting for 14 hours (you should hopefully be sleeping for half that time anyway!) and giving yourself a 10 hour window during the day where you can eat. For example, if I tell myself that I’ll stop eating at 8pm and start eating again at 10am the next morning, I have that structure locked in so that I know I can’t be eating late at night (AKA – I won’t be in the kitchen eating leftover dessert!). This gives your digestive system a break to rest and repair, and for me, it also improves my mental clarity, makes me feel less sluggish, and helps regulate blood sugar. The key is to do it for one or two days, then take a day off. Give it a try!
4. Have a super nutritious shake or smoothie in the morning. This one is especially important for moms or busy bees during the holiday season. During the holidays, you can have strings of days in a row that you’re going out to lunches with family and attending parties at night – basically, you give up a lot of control over your diet! For this reason, I think it’s a great idea to load up your breakfast – one meal you can control – with lots of nutrition. That way, you know you’re at least getting one meal that’s fueling your body for the better. My current favorites are my almond strawberry smoothie, and ginger green smoothie!
5. Move whenever you can, wherever you can! Our workout schedules can get a little bit foggy during this season… and that’s ok! You might not be going to all your regularly scheduled classes or hitting the gym as much, but you can still take advantage of little moments to get moving. For example, I like to do simple yoga moves in the middle of cooking (a quick Warrior 3 pose in the photo above!) to keep my blood flowing and my body from getting sore. It can be as little as going on a walk (a good excuse to see the Christmas lights!), doing a little dance, or even doing a few jumping jacks to warm up your entire system. I also think there’s a ton of importance in breathing, and always urge people to take a really deep belly breath whenever you can think to do it.
Remember, the holidays are a time to enjoy all of the lovingly-cooked food and indulge a bit, so don’t let yourself feel guilty over it – a bit of a Christmas cookie hangover is inevitable at this time of year, but it’s always good to stay mindful of your health… regardless of the season!