5 Ways to Stay Healthy during the Holidays

Posted: November 12, 2015 in Friday Five, Tips
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Now I realize that this Friday Five topic was probably inspired by the upcoming US Thanksgiving weekend. Here in Canada, we had Thanksgiving back in October (and I ran the Victoria Half Marathon that weekend!) – so I’m really keeping the Christmas/New Year’s holiday season in mind as I put these ideas together.

We love the holidays – festive music, decorations and lights, Christmas cheer, time with family and friends, office closures, and lots of food and drink! In the midst of all this, it doesn’t take much for the good habits we’ve built during the rest of the year to fall to the wayside be downright obliterated.

While these tips may not offer foolproof solutions, here are my 5 ways to stay healthy during the holidays:

1. Experiment with new recipes. Holiday meals! Butter, fat, sugar – some of the yummiest things out there! It can be easy to default to old favourites, to the tried and true menu items that you know and love. Absolutely, make the most of these! But take the opportunity to try out some fresh and healthy ingredients you haven’t utilized before. Find creative ways to incorporate veggies into your meals. Even if you don’t consider yourself much of a cook, Google is your best friend – I always use search terms like ‘easy’, ‘simple’ and ‘quick’ when looking up recipes online! Plug in a few key ingredients, and you’re on your way to healthy (or, at least, healthier) food! Or pull out an old recipe book and try something new!

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My favourite cookbook ever!

2. Take advantage of time off. When I get a day off – such as a holiday Monday – I consider that a great time to go for a run! Normally, I’d be on my way to the office. On this day, I have the time for that exercise. While sleeping in during the holidays can be an attractive option, studies have shown that sticking to a morning routine is much healthier. Get up when you normally would, enjoy a bit of leisure time, and get out there – spend a bit of time at the gym, go to a yoga class, or go for a run. (Don’t sleep your day away, like Osker would…)

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Osker knows how to nap!

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He’s had a lot of napping practice

3. Plan activities. Especially when the weather outside is frightful, you might want to huddle under a blanket on the sofa, watch a movie, and eat a bag of chips. At least, that’s what I want to do. There’s nothing wrong with this – but resist the inertia that can overtake us during the holiday season. Plan activities with friends and family that take you out of the house. Weather permitting, go for a hike or visit a local park. Or track down free events in the area that you can attend. Just keep moving!

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Stanley Park – nice place for a walk

[Tweet “Want to stay healthy over the holidays? Check out these 5 tips! #FridayFive”]

4. Focus on quality over quantity. Often the holidays equate to overindulgence. There’s so much good food! Yummy desserts! Another bottle of wine! Sometimes it’s hard to resist. When you know that your eyes are bigger than your stomach (or perhaps your liver?), be picky. If you’re eating out, spend a bit more on a fancy meal – rather than consuming the sub-par food at the all-you-can-eat. Rather than a box of the cheap and cheerful booze, splurge a bit and savour a higher end wine. Take your time. Enjoy.

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5. Relax. The holidays can be a hectic time. Staying healthy is not only about looking after your body, but also taking care of your emotional well-being. Set aside some time for yourself to do what makes you feel good. Read that book you haven’t had a chance to get to. Call that old friend who you haven’t talked to in months – you know, the one who no matter how long it’s been since you’ve chatted, it’s like you just saw them yesterday. Go for a long run. Take a bubble bath.

What are your secrets for staying healthy during the holidays?

I am excited to link up with MarCourtney and Cynthia for my first Friday Five!

 

Comments
  1. focus on quality over quantity – I LOVE that!! and especially taking advantage of a day off. Thanks so much for linking up with us for the Friday Five – happy to have you!
    Mar @ Mar on the Run recently posted…5 Ways to Be More Present During the HolidaysMy Profile

    • bjcjapan says:

      Thanks for hosting, Mar! I’m going to try to link up on a more regular basis.
      I liked the quality over quantity idea because everything in moderation, right?

  2. I love that the holidays is an excuse to experiment with some new recipes! I love to cook!

  3. Diane says:

    All great tips here Bradley! The other day, I was totally thinking about the fact that I host Thanksgiving so I should be able to tweak our usually recipes right? All worried that no one will like the cleaner versions of stuffing or mashed potatoes but in the long run, it’s better for all! I am with you on that Google train. I love that whatever random words I enter really do come up with a match. So cool. My tip would be to not eat, at all, and save all your calories for that good bottle of wine you’re talking about! Just on Thanksgiving Day itself. haha Just kidding – only because my mom won’t let me do that! Have a wonderful weekend!
    Diane recently posted…Blog Hop: Ten Things R.R.My Profile

    • bjcjapan says:

      Diane – thanks for dropping by! I’m kind of jealous that you guys still have Thanksgiving to look forward to…although we had a pretty awesome one here back in October. I ran a half marathon on the Sunday, and ended up being the designated driver, too – so not much wine for me. But have the best stuffing I think I’ve ever had! I say go ahead and tweak your recipes – you might discover a new favourite!

  4. I do love me some treats, so the most important thing I can do is get my runs done!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Interview with an Icon: Bart YassoMy Profile

    • bjcjapan says:

      Haha – me too, Wendy! More savoury than sweet for me, but balancing that with lots of running helps…keep the scale balanced, too! 🙂

  5. Sam Sly says:

    Great tips! I love the look of that cookbook. I am addicted to cookbooks.
    Sam Sly recently posted…What Feeling Fit Means To MeMy Profile

  6. Great tips. Always love trying new recipes out. Also agree on the quality over quantity. I love food, but I love good food, not just lots of food.
    John @ run. geek. run(disney) recently posted…Staying Healthy Through the Holidays | #FridayFiveMy Profile

    • bjcjapan says:

      Don’t get me wrong – sometimes lots of food is exactly what I want! But in the grand scheme of things I think it’s better to focus on the good stuff. And if you’re looking for a good cookbook…the one I posted on my blog is awesome!

  7. Caroline S. says:

    Great tips! I’ve been clearing out my storage unit so I’ve been sifting through so many things! Some of things I found many of were cookbooks I’ve bought over the years that I have never opened because I haven’t really had a kitchen (was living in the dorms for awhile and then everything just stood in storage after) So I am going to bust those out for your tip number one! Also love the idea of planning activities. It is quite cold outside but I’m still going to plan things out! I’m even signed up for the Tofurky Trot in my area on Thanksgiving! Thanks for sharing! Happy blog hopping!
    https://curlycaroline.wordpress.com/

    • bjcjapan says:

      I remember the days of living in dorms and having limited kitchen access. Even when I lived off campus, the kitchen was minuscule – barely enough to call it a kitchen. So yay! I’m glad you’re going to put some of those cookbooks to use!
      We have a Turkey Trot here (to coincide with Canadian Thanksgiving in October), but I love that you have a TOFUrkey Trot! As a veggie myself, that makes me happy!

  8. Love these tips! Especially the one about quality over quantity. With so many yummy choices, it’s hard to resist. I totally agree that spending a little more on a quality meal is so much more satisfying than a sub par meal! Thanks for sharing these tips.
    Rebecca@Holisticbalancenutrition recently posted…How to Make a Smoothie like a ProMy Profile

  9. I’m just getting caught up on visiting everyone’s pages from my spotlight day for the Blog Hop. Great tips for the holidays! I teach school and have two weeks off at Christmas. I am guilty of staying up late and sleeping in the next morning. I need to work on keeping my early morning routine during the break.
    Debra @HappyRunningSole recently posted…20 Thoughts During My 20 MilerMy Profile

    • bjcjapan says:

      Thanks for swinging by, Debra! I have a week off at Christmas (our office is closed – hooray!) and I admit it’s very easy to do exactly what you say…stay up late, and sleep in. I don’t think it’s bad to do that from time to time – we deserve it! But I do think it’s good to try and find some balance. 🙂

  10. Christy says:

    I think my goal will be using the downtime, especially to work out. Motivation is at an all time low for me when the weather is cold, so I am making that a goal for myself this holiday season!
    Christy recently posted…Day One: Our First Time in Philadelphia!My Profile

    • bjcjapan says:

      Nice! It’s easy to let the downtime slip away…but if you plan for it, you can really make the most of it! Thanks for visiting!

  11. Brittany says:

    Great tips, I especially like quality over quantity!
    Brittany recently posted…All Hallows’ DisneyMy Profile

  12. courtney says:

    excellent tips. we joined a winter CSA so we have lots of fresh veggies on hand!
    courtney recently posted…Richmond Half Marathon RecapMy Profile