Healthy Holiday Traditions You Should Be Starting Now

By Isadora Baum

As the holidays are almost here, it's time to start thinking about what new traditions you can begin to have a healthy holiday and stay on track with your wellness goals. Often, it's tempting to go all in on the holiday indulgences and parties, but it can also lead to sickness, fatigue, and perhaps even a few extra pounds.

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To avoid feeling down come January, you can still have fun with family and friends and maintain the holiday spirit without losing sight of your fitness and nutrition priorities. It's all about balance, where you can stay sane during the holidays, and savor every moment, stress-free.

Luckily there are a few ways to make this year's celebrations happy and healthy, without any guilt or weight gain. Integrative Nutrition health coach Sheila Petersen shares her tips.

Set An Exercise Goal

Struggling to make time or have the motivation to stick with a workout plan? Give yourself a reason to workout by creating a goal that you'll need to achieve during the holidays, says Petersen. For instance, sign up for race, or include your family in a tradition, such as a game of ball or a long walk on Christmas morning. Be sure to track progress in a journal if you need the extra accountability. And, by bringing in family and friends, you're all more likely to stick with the training program, too.

Serve Healthier Foods

Perhaps grandma's sweet potato dish with bacon and marshmallow is a family tradition. (Sounds yummy, right?) Still, you can slim it down a bit. Maybe swap butter and sugars, or get rid of the bacon. Make a new tradition that features healthier, but still satisfying and sentimental recipes.

Another option, keep grandma's recipe, but have all guests bring a healthy side dish or a healthier baked good. Bring vegetable sides, fruit desserts, and other nutritious foods to go along with the warming, comfort foods you're used to, says Petersen.

Show Gratitude

Remember, it's not just about eating during the holidays. Instead, it's really about the people you're with. Focus your attentive on being grateful for your meaningful relationships and being present with everyone, says Petersen. By giving thanks and tightening those bonds, you'll be less inclined to go back for seconds and thirds.

For a new tradition, have everyone at the table go around and say what he or she is thankful for. This will put everything in proper perspective and make the holiday that much better.

Drink Water With Each Drink

When it comes to holiday parties, there's surely booze. (And lots of it!) So, it can be hard to keep count of how many you're tossing back. A plan? Set a goal to drink a glass of water with each glass of alcohol. Drinking water will hydrate you to avoid mindless munching and it'll fill your belly up, says Petersen. Plus, you can even double fist them. With both hands preoccupied, you'll be less inclined to keep eating when you're not hungry anymore.

Did we miss anything?! Dish in the comments!