Holiday Survival Guide
By Lauryn Axelrod, HealthSPORT Nutrition Coordinator
Overeating, too many temptations, too much sugar and questionable travel food all take a toll on your health over the holidays. Here are a few tips to help you survive the holidays with your health – and your sense of humor — intact!
1. Bring probiotics and fermented foods
Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, help to keep other gut bacteria and yeast in check. They also assist with the digestion of all those rich holiday foods. And when it comes to breathing airplane air, a daily dose of good bacteria will prime the immune system for the stress that accompanies travel.
So, pack your probiotics…and up your dose over the holidays! Don’t have your supplements? Make sure to have real yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut or fermented veggies daily this holiday!
2. Share your own recipes
You know the scenario: you arrive at your family’s home and Aunt Millie has made those traditional holiday foods that you KNOW are going to tempt you…and hurt your health. But you don’t want to be a party-pooper, constantly exclaiming “I can’t eat THAT!”
So what’s the solution?
My advice advice is to bring your own staples – coconut oil, sugar alternatives, gluten free-treats — and offer to help cook, using some new ingredients – yours! If you are one of the cooks, you have an opportunity to make suggestions – such as cooking with a high-quality saturated fat, rather than refined seed oil, like canola oil. Bring some recipes to share and offer to make a delicious healthy side dish or dessert for you and others to enjoy. If others are interested, explain why food type and food quality matters so much to your health. Who knows? You may help those that you love with their own nagging health concerns.
3. Load up on the veggies
You know the party is going to tax your system, so what’s the best insurance? Make sure to eat healthy the rest of the day! Start your morning with a healthy breakfast, have plenty of veggies at lunch, and then, when the party comes, you won’t have to worry about the imbalance so much!
4. Drink lots of water
We all overindulge a little during the holidays. Keep the toxins flowing out of your body by drinking plenty of water. Try to drink ½ your body weight in ounces per day (or at least those 8 cups!!). And make sure to drink a full glass first thing in the morning to flush the kidneys from the previous night’s party.
5. Laugh about it
Share gentle jokes about your special needs. It is not easy to limit the foods that you eat, especially during the holidays. While you know the value of listening to your body, not everyone will understand. That’s okay. Keep it light and take care of your unique dietary needs, however you see fit.