As winter rolls around, many Americans find themselves eating more and moving less. And while holiday weight gain isn’t as bad as you might think, the lack of healthy eating and exercise can really take a toll on your immune system. In this article, we’ll help you identify four simple ways to stay healthy and active despite shorter days, grueling travel, and all of that fruitcake.
Plan Nutritious Breakfasts and Lunches
One of the best ways to enjoy festive -- and often fattening, nutritionless -- foods this holiday season is to plan healthy meals around your indulgences. Try to choose nutrient-rich, plant-based foods for breakfast and lunch whenever possible.
Foods that include vitamin C and zinc are especially helpful in boosting immunity. Try some of the following easy-to-prepare meals this December:
- Fried eggs served over sauteed kale, served with fresh citrus fruit
- Zinc-fortified whole grain cereal over plain yogurt topped with fresh cranberries and orange segments
- Kale salad topped with pomegranate seeds, grapefruit segments, and roasted Brussels sprouts
By keeping portions under control and upping your vitamin and nutrient intake, you can indulge in a reasonable portion of your favorite holiday food without too much worry. Balance is key.
Try Something New to Stay Active
This time of year, there may be too many distractions to force yourself to run that same old three-mile route. We’ve found that as temperatures drop and the days get shorter, nothing motivates us to get our workout in like a new, exciting, endorphin-pumping class or practice.
See what ClassPass offers in your area. With it, you’ll be able to pick and choose diverse workouts offered at different studios all over your town. Or get in touch with a local yoga studio and ask about a one-month membership. Hold yourself accountable and reap the benefits.
And remember, you aren’t just breaking a sweat to keep the pounds at bay. Exercise helps boost immunity, too. Those who exercise moderately are better able to fight off cold and flu.
Get Enough Rest to Keep It Up
Don’t let yourself get exhausted keeping up with all the late-night parties and errands that often accompany holiday time. A good night’s sleep boosts immunity, and heavy late-night eating, exercise, and drinking can really interfere with your body’s ability to fall and stay asleep.
Consider the following tips for your December sleep strategy:
- Avoid alcohol and fatty foods in the hours before bedtime
- Unless you’re used to it, avoid intense workouts just before bed
- Gradually adjust your bedtime in anticipation of travel to another time zone
- Before hopping into bed, allow yourself time to unwind after getting home from a party or the mall
Since you might be getting home later than usual on many nights, you might want to try and sneak in a thirty-minute nap before heading out to an event or office party. Drinking caffeine in the evenings might give you the energy you need to power through the night, but it could keep you awake well past your bedtime.
Prepare Your Home for Potential Cold and Flu
While the above tips should help you stay well this December, it’s always good to be prepared, just in case. Stock your pantry and your medicine cabinet with the things you’ll need to handle a case of cold or flu in your household.
Here are our recommendations:
- Organic chicken broth
- A natural sinus rinse
- EZC Pak supplements, both Active and 5 Day Courses
- Chamomile and peppermint teas
What are your tips and tricks for staying happy, healthy, and active during the holidays?