Hone Your Healthy Habits for the Holidays<br />
Hone Your Healthy Habits for the Holidays

When fall arrives and the temperature cools off, indoor activities and sedentary habits tend to increase. Cooler weather signals the preparation for upcoming holidays and encourages cravings for comfort foods. Foods that are prepared this time of year often include warm meals with heavy sauces and creams, resulting in increased calories. As the festive season makes it tempting to indulge in unhealthy treats and become less active, follow our tips to hone in on healthy habits before the holidays.

1. Commit to a regular exercise routine. Fall can be an excellent time to get more fresh air. The change of seasons and beautiful fall colors on the trees can be a bonus when hiking, biking or walking. If it gets too frigid outside, you can transition your activities indoors with a treadmill or join a gym that offers elliptical machines, weight training or spin classes for variety. Try other inexpensive indoor activities such as fitness videos, resistance bands, jumping rope or stretching and yoga exercises to stay fit during the colder months.

2. Create a healthy meal plan. Back to school often means a serious time crunch for busy families. One helpful tip is to plan ahead! Print off simple slow cooker recipes that are healthy and delicious, and have dinner waiting after work or when kids arrive home from sports practices and school events. When you get home from the store, peel the carrots, slice the cucumbers, and scrub the potatoes before storing them. Prepping ingredients in advance makes it convenient and easy to grab healthier options throughout the day and on the go.

3. Get a good night’s sleep. As the weather changes and the clocks get turned back, biological rhythms often reset as well. Sleep deprivation can lead to a higher risk for illness, weakened immune systems, weight gain, and a host of other problems. Avoid this by establishing a nightly wind-down routine that will encourage healthy sleep schedules with good habits.

4. Tame hunger at parties and social gatherings. Holiday gatherings are known for delicious – and not so healthy – snacks. Reduce the temptation to indulge in high caloric snacks and treats by eating a small healthy meal before the party. Keep the alcohol to a minimum and sample a couple of your favorite munchies, but avoid overeating.

Fall and winter holidays present unique challenges when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Focusing on healthy practices during the holiday season can also help you maintain a healthful lifestyle year-round. Enjoy the holidays with a focused plan for better health.