5 Ways to Keep Healthy Habits on Track Around the Holidays

You’ve probably gone through this before — in the midst of holiday festivities, you abandon the healthy habits you’ve been working on all year long. You tell yourself, “I’ll start eating healthy again on Jan. 1.” Meanwhile, you give in to temptation, shifting the burden to your next New Year’s resolutions.

The truth is, nutrition is important all year — even during the holidays. So even if you let yourself splurge a little, that doesn’t mean you have to throw all your best habits away until the new year begins.

“The hectic nature of the holiday season may be a tough time for many to maintain their healthy lifestyle, but it’s important not to write off your healthy lifestyle goals,” said Dr. Kent Bradley, chief health and nutrition officer at Herbalife Nutrition.

In an annual survey by Herbalife Nutrition, over half (56%) of the respondents revealed that they plan on using the holidays as an excuse to postpone healthy choices — assuming they would start fresh in January. That number was up 15% from last year, showing that the added stress of 2020 may be having an impact. In fact, 49% of the global respondents said they believed they deserved more holiday treats this year because of the pandemic.

How bad can holiday overeating get? Here’s what American respondents admitted they’ve done during the holidays:

  • 45% ate so much they’ve had to undo a pants button or loosen a belt
  • 43% ate more than one dessert at a meal
  • 35% ate more than three meals in one day
  • 30% have eaten until they felt sick or full to bursting

If you don’t want to join those statistics, follow Dr. Bradley’s tips for sticking to your healthier habits throughout the holidays — and beyond.

1. Remember why you established health goals

Are you trying to achieve your ideal weight, be more active or just want to take better care of yourself? Perhaps you have a specific health risk that you are working to reduce. Write the top reasons you want to stay healthy and post them where you can see them every day.

2. Snack on high-quality, nutritious foods

“One way to beat temptation is to eat healthy snacks that are high in protein, curbing the desire to eat,” said Dr. Bradley. Keep foods like raw nuts and seeds, hard-boiled eggs, lean meat and low-fat cheeses available for snacking. Snacking on your high-protein foods a little before a big meal can prevent you from over-indulging.

3. Choose colorful, balanced meals

When choosing foods at the family meal, select colorful veggies and fruits to supplement your protein, and strive for a balance of protein, veggies and grains or pasta on your plate.

4. Watch portion sizes

It’s so easy to overeat when all the food looks delicious! If you want to taste several dishes, limit yourself to a spoonful of each item so you don’t end up overstuffing. If you can, use a smaller plate so you’re not tempted to pile on. Sip water between bites to slow down and give yourself time to feel full.

5. Limit “splurge” days

If you want to treat yourself, remember to limit the treat to one occasion. For one special event, allow yourself a treat — but get back to your healthy habits the next morning.

According to the survey, of those Americans postponing healthy habits, 4 in 10 already started letting themselves fall off the healthy wagon in mid-November, and 62% of them said they’re adopting a “New Year, new me” attitude — counting on New Year’s resolutions to get them back on track.

Resolutions are a great way to kick off the year on a positive note, but make sure you set achievable goals. “Small and steady changes to your diet and fitness routine are more sustainable,” said Dr. Bradley, “and having a community to encourage and celebrate your success with you, even if virtually, can make a huge difference.”

Top resolutions were found to be exercising more (26%), making healthier food decisions (25%) and focusing on self-care (21%).

Want more nutrition advice? Visit IamHerbalifeNutrition.com.

Author Profile

The Editorial Team at Lake Oconee Health is made up of skilled health and wellness writers and experts, led by Daniel Casciato who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We aim to provide our readers with valuable insights and guidance to help them lead healthier and happier lives.