Shauna’s Holiday Game Plan
Believe it or not the holiday season is here again! We have 6 short weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year. For me that means managing work, motherhood, cooking, baking cookies, shopping, wrapping gifts, attending holiday parties, hosting parties, and handling day to day life. This is the time~ more than ever ~ to be on top of my health. I absolutely love that most of the celebrations this time of year revolve around food but this can quickly become overwhelming. I try to keep in mind that the holidays are only a few days and not the entire 6 weeks. I celebrate with the best of them but I have a game plan in place for this 6 week (52 day 🙂 season to keep me on top of my health, each and every day!
Here is my Holiday Season Healthy Game Plan:
Breakfast: Every Day
I like to eat breakfast shortly after waking up. This is usually within an hour of rising. If I skip breakfast I tend to get headaches and cranky. Ask any of my relatives: a cranky me is not good for anyone! I always try to take the extra 15 minutes to eat breakfast. It gives me a start to the day and helps hold me over until lunch, so I can make a good decision rather than eating whatever is in front of me because I am “starving”. Not hungry when you wake up? Take a look at what you are eating the night before. Do you snack a lot after dinner or eat very large portions? Then I am not surprised. Try to lighten up on the night time eating and you may see a change in your hunger when you wake up. Try some of these quick and healthy breakfasts.
Prepare: Eat Well to Feel Well
Preparation is the key to success in most things in life and healthy eating is no different. I like to think about food 4-5 days at a time. I pick out my dinner meals for those days and I create a shopping list. I look to prep food on one day, taking an hour or two to wash and chop veggies for both snacking and for meals throughout the week. I plan meals by picking my protein portion first and them following up with easy sides to get in a vegetable and healthy carbohydrate. For example, roasted chicken with sauteed string beans and a baked potato…. egg frittata with roasted sweet potato fries… grilled flank steak with steamed broccoli and quinoa…delicious and easy meals are meals that you will keep going back to!
I prepare most of my meals for the week at home. I realize this is no easy task but it is important to me and my family to eat well to feel well. I make extra food at dinner to have for lunch the next day which makes lunch easy and saves us money. I also try to never leave the house without a snack or lunch bag on hand. This prevents me from having to make a less healthy food choice when on the run. Extra tip: Pack your snack bag the night before!
Hydrate: Check your Pee
At any given time, you can find me traveling with a glass water bottle. I try to stay on top of drinking water because it stops me from getting headaches and quenches my skin during the driest of days. How do I know when I’m drinking enough? I use my pee to let me know…. If it is clear to light yellow I am in good shape but if it is a darker yellow I know I need to get in some more hydrating fluids. Not a huge water drinker? Try squeezing in some lemon or drink herbal teas or seltzer. Fresh veggies are also filled with water so munch on some cucumbers! Here are some fun herbal infused water recipes!
If It Is Not There: You Can’t Eat It
I try my hardest not to keep cookies, cake, doughnuts, or the like in the house. I wind up eating them in the wrong moments, when I’ve waited too long between eating meals or when I am bored. After eating these foods I rarely feel good and I am usually still hungry. I make sure my fridge and pantry are filled with choices I can feel good about. I have fresh fruit, cut up veggies, popcorn, whole grain chips, salsa, hummus, olives, and guacamole on hand at most times. This is not torture for me. I love the way these foods taste and how they make me feel. Please note that these feel good foods will vary from person to person and my choices do not need to be your choices. There are so many great foods to pick from! When the time comes that I do have true craving for cookies or cake I will cook up a fresh batch. This is obviously time consuming so half the time I wind up going for whatever I have on hand, but sometimes I do bake a small batch and then I will enjoy eating my creation. If it is ice cream or chips I crave, I go for a walk to the closest store this way I get a little exercise too!
Mindful Eating: My Friend
Mindful eating is being fully aware of your body and how the foods you eat make you feel. The foods served during the 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years are my favorite foods of all and I since do not have them often I do not want to miss out on enjoying them. Enter Mindful eating: I take a little bit of everything I like and enjoy it ~~ I truly enjoy it. I slow down and focus on the friends and family I am surrounded with while also savoring every bite of what goes into my mouth. Right when I start to feel full I know I have had enough. I am able to walk away from the table with room for a guilt-free dessert or two. In the past I have eaten to a point where I am so uncomfortable I have to unbutton my pants and awful heartburn sets in. I realized the extra eating did not help me enjoy my meal better. I enjoy it just as much by eating just the right amount.
Move More: Sports Bra Not Required
My plan during the holiday season is to get in at least 1 planned exercise activity a week. Each week I write the day in my calendar and have my clothes laid out ready to go. If I get in more, great then that’s a bonus. But my goal is only one sweat session and to be as active as I can on the other days. That means I am parking farther at the mall, raking leaves myself, taking stairs, and putting in some extra cleaning time around the house. I may not have had to wear a sports bra but I sure did move a lot!
What do you do to stay healthy during the holidays?