Monday, November 29

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Fit Tips: Healthy holiday habits

I love the holiday season. As soon as Dec. 1hits, I break out my festive sweaters (all two of them), blast Michael Bublé’s “Christmas” album on repeat and replace note-taking in class with intense Pinterest stalking. However, as much as I love these holiday rituals, none of them can compete with the best one of them all: food.

Along with festive movies and parties, winter break brings with it an endless string of food-centric events. Don’t get me wrong: as a self-proclaimed foodie, I’m not complaining one bit. There’s not much I love more than baking snowman shortbread with my mom while a cheesy rom-com plays in the background. However, while endless cookie dough sampling can be fun, there’s no doubt that making this behavior a habit could lead to some less cheery realizations come the New Year. So how do you enjoy the holiday cheer without the holiday hangover? I don’t have it nailed down to an exact science, but these tips might come in handy when you find yourself near a cozy couch and scrumptious stuffing in the coming weeks!

  • “Limited time only” does NOT mean “must have”: Do you really need that Reese’s peanut butter cup just because it’s shaped like a Christmas tree? (I almost fell for this gimmick when they came out with a pumpkin version — I thought it was a pumpkin flavored PB cup!) Are you actually a fan of candy-cane flavored desserts, or do you just think you are? Tip: Ask yourself if you would normally be inclined to indulge in this “special” dessert. If yes, go for it! If you’re not really as enthused about the flavor as you are about its scarcity, consider giving it a pass.
  • Talk and walk: You don’t have to sit down at Starbucks to catch up with a friend (although I know their chairs are quite comfy), so why not get your coffee to go? If it’s not a complete blizzard outside, go for a walk around a local park, or kill two birds with one stone and do your Christmas shopping! And if you’re still a 5-year-old at heart like me, don’t be afraid to grab a friend or two and join the neighborhood kids for some sledding fun! (On second thought, I might be the only kid left on my block… more snow for me!)
  • Break up the feast(s): In my family, we have both a big brunch and a dinner on Christmas day. If I don’t get up and move between the hours of noon and 4, I go into a serious food coma, which, to be honest, kind of puts a damper on the whole day! Tip: Do a family/friend run or walk on the day(s) of your feast! Turkey trots exist for a reason, right? So why not take a Jingle-Bell Jog, a Hanukkah Hike or even a Santa Ski?
  • Pregame, game or postgame? You might be surprised to find that this tip has nothing to do with alcohol but instead revolves around food. Part of the reason I leave dinner parties as full as Santa is because they are usually about four hours of eating, between appetizers, dinner and dessert. Tip: Either nix one of these three courses, or make sure you eat less of each in order to keep yourself in balance. Trust me, if you fill your plate with dinner and dessert, you won’t find yourself missing those mini quiches that looked like heaven when you arrived famished.
  • Choose your booze wisely: Between exes, old high school friends, and your strange aunt who’s not really your aunt, the likelihood of awkward conversations this holiday season are pretty high. If you’re 21, you might even find yourself reaching for a strong glass of eggnog to calm the nerves or facilitate a laugh. However, one glass of eggnog (or your beverage of choice) usually leads to two or more, which is sure to add up (depending on the level of awkwardness). Tip: Avoid those interactions at all cost. KIDDING! If you do feel like celebrating the season with a little booze, try to steer clear of the cream- and sugar-laden drinks such as Baileys and margaritas and replace them instead with lighter options.