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How to Maintain a Balanced Diet During the Holidays

Woman sitting down and eating a healthy meal.
Marina Litvinova/Shutterstock.com

The holiday season is just around the corner and what always seems to be associated with it is plenty of food, gatherings, friend and family dinners, and quite frankly, a ton of calories. So, how are you to maintain a balanced diet while still being able to enjoy yourself and say yes to every piece of your grandma’s famous Christmas cake? Here are a few tips to help you out.

Don’t Stress About it

Two women dressed in white sweaters relaxing on a couch with a cup of coffee.
Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock.com

Probably the best tip you can ever receive about maintaining a balanced diet and even staying on your fitness journey throughout the holidays is to stop stressing about it. Being in a constant state of anxiety and thinking about how you need to burn off the calories you’ve eaten will only do you harm in the long run.

Accept the holidays for what they are: a special time of the year when you’re surrounded by your favorite people and you’re enjoying foods you normally don’t have the opportunity to throughout the rest of the year. The less you stress about it, the better will your body digest food, even the one that isn’t necessarily the healthiest choice.

Holiday cake baking tin

Bake all of your favorite cakes.

Enjoy the Holiday Season

Mom and two children baking holiday cookies.
Evgeny Atamanenko/ Shutterstock.com

This tip perfectly ties into the first one as it’s exactly what you should be doing this time of the year. Don’t worry about the workout you didn’t have the time for, snoozing your alarm and staying in bed for an hour longer, or even having cake for breakfast. Enjoy everything this time of the year brings, from the festive music and decorations to the delicious food that brings you back to your childhood.

The more you enjoy it, the less likely you are to succumb to restricting certain foods or avoid a second helping of that delicious pumpkin pie. And when there is no anxiety and stress around food, your body will naturally crave more fruits and vegetables around these holiday gatherings. You are what you eat, but your body is well aware of its nutrient needs. It’s about listening to your body and allowing it to rest and relax.

Christmas Lights

Decorate your house with gorgeous Christmas lights.

Think Long-Term, Not Short-Term

Woman eating a healthy salad.

Holidays are here for only about a month and then they’re gone for the rest of the year. A few extra cookies and celebratory drinks won’t make you gain five pounds just like eating a few salads won’t magically make you lose weight. Think about your diet long-term and how you’re fueling your body every month out of the year, not just during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What you do every day counts more in the long run, so focus on supplying your body with the necessary nutrients year-round so that it’s better equipped at digesting heavier and sugar-rich foods around the holidays.

Ninja blender

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Add Smart Supplements to Your Diet

Woman sitting at her desk, scrolling through her phone and drinking a green juice.
Luna Vandoorne/Shutterstock.com

Another great way to support your healthy eating habits during this time of the year is by adding high-quality supplements to your regimen. No matter how healthy you eat, it’s almost impossible to get absolutely every vitamin and mineral and their recommended doses every single day. Taking a high-quality multivitamin or a powerful greens supplement can help you reach your nutrient goals while you’re still enjoying Thanksgiving gravy and that delicious turkey sandwich the following day.

Additionally, taking supplements like probiotics and digestive enzymes can help improve the breakdown of food, enhance nutrient absorption, and help replenish your gut microbiome with beneficial bacteria that nourish your gut and strengthen your immune system.

That being said, before starting a new supplement, it’s always important to consult with your doctor. Even more so, if you’re already dealing with a health condition or taking medications that might interact with the supplements you’re interested in taking.

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Move Your Body

Woman doing a yoga twist in a yoga studio.
Karla Tafra

Adding movement to your daily schedule will definitely help you keep a balanced diet during the holiday season. Exercise helps improve your digestion and speeds up your metabolism, making you feel lighter even after the heaviest and most calorie-dense meals.

Whether you go for a long walk, hop on your bike and pedal around your hometown, go for a run, or stretch it out with a sweaty yoga session, it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is to simply move your body. Your diet and movement have to go hand in hand for you to be able to sustain a healthy lifestyle, so find the activity you like doing and stay consistent.

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Maintain Your Healthy Habits

A close up of a bowl of berries, a banana, and a water bottle.
Luna Vandoorne/Shutterstock.com

And last, but not least, stick to your usual healthy habits. Just because it’s the holiday season, it doesn’t mean you need to stop doing what you usually do. If it makes you feel good to have a green smoothie for breakfast, keep at it; if you enjoy morning runs, there’s no reason to stop collecting miles; and if you’re someone who likes to keep things in check and count your macros, feel free to continue.

There’s no pressure in saying yes to certain things or having to attend every single holiday dinner. Seeing family and all of your friends can sometimes be a lot. So give yourself the opportunity to say no and stick to your usual routine.

Superfood Crackers

Snack away with zero guilt.

Holidays can be stressful, but they are also supposed to be joyous and relaxing. Focus on the positives and sneak in some self-care whenever you get the chance!

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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