When I think of Christmas, I think of family and friends, twinkling lights, cheery music, and delicious food. Ah yes… the food. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy – my mouth is watering just writing this!

But if your traditional holiday feasts are anything like mine, they involve a lot of butter, bread, and sugar. Even though they enhance the food experience, these ingredients can make you feel stuffed, tired, and sick after consumption.

Overeating and indulging in festive treats can be a way for us to opt-out and deal with holiday stress. We can somewhat ‘escape’ from reality by doing this, but this behaviour is often followed by feelings of guilt, shame, or regret.

The gingerbread cookie your Grandma made, with added sugar, of course, will no doubt taste good and make you feel better in the moment, but not afterwards. And the number of calories and increased blood sugar from a big turkey dinner are just some of the reasons why we feel mentally and physically exhausted.

However, there are easy ways to sneak in a healthy diet this holiday season.

Have a Merry Little Breakfast

Although it may be tempting to have leftovers for breakfast, try to limit holiday food to once a day. Starting off with a smoothie or juice is a simple way to get the daily nutrients needed, all at once. Another option is throwing whatever vegetables you have from your holiday dinners into an omelette. Omelettes are very versatile and contain lots of protein and fibre, which is good for your brain!

Don’t eat like Santa

It can be extremely difficult to manage your portions when there is tons of good food right in front of you. I always say it’s better to have a little bit of everything, rather than a lot of one thing. Be mindful of your portion size and keep in mind this may not be the only indulging meal you will have over the holiday season. According to a study referenced in a Healthline article, poor eating and overeating are linked to anxiety and depression.

Be a Nutcracker

Cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios – nuts are high in healthy fats and antioxidants, which makes them the perfect guilt-free snack during the holidays. However, you don’t want to eat too many nuts. According to Women’s Health, you should have 30g of nuts daily (unsalted preferably).

Give Your Body the Gift of Greens

Unfortunately, traditional holiday foods are not the best to help you stay in good health or properly manage the effects of stress. Ideally, our bodies need the right proteins and dark greens to function at an optimal level. Studies show that half a cup of leafy greens per day is linked to a slower decline in brain function. With a sharp and healthy brain, you can handle stressful situations that the holiday may bring. According to an article by Health, leafy greens “…earned the highest scores out of all animal- and plant-based foods, suggesting that they’re an important part of preventing or treating depressive disorders.”

So… how can you incorporate these leafy greens into your holiday diet when you are only surrounded by traditional holiday food? We have some simple, tasty, easy recipes that you can work into your holiday diet so you can feel your best!

Mind Boosting Energy Juice

  • 1 cup of Spinach
  • 1 cup of Kale
  • ¼ inch of Ginger Root
  • 2 Green apples
  • 1 Lemon
  • 4 Celery sticks
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 4 Carrots

Juice the ingredients and voila! A healthy, stimulating juice that will give you the nutrients you may be lacking this holiday season.

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

  • ½ cup of Blueberries
  • 1 Banana
  • ½ cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of Flax Seeds
  • ½ cup Spinach
  • 1 cup of Orange Juice

Blend all ingredients together and serve! If you have any leftovers, you can freeze them and have a smoothie ready for another day!

Turmeric Ginger Lemon Juice

  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • ¼ inch Ginger Root
  • ½ cup Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 tablespoon of Honey, Maple Syrup, or Agave Syrup

This brightly coloured juice is a fantastic anti-inflammatory and is great for your brain cells. It is a very easy recipe if you don’t mind some bold flavours!

Having one of these juices or a smoothie every day throughout the holidays can significantly change your mood and energy levels. And by doing so, you don’t have to cut out the traditional holiday food.

Edmonton Fitness, Downtown Calgary Fitness Classes

Last but not least, why not enjoy a full-body, high-intensity workout at a fitness studio and get the holidays started off right? Don’t wait for the New Year to attend a drop-in class, or fitness classes or get a personal trainer and be burning calories and build muscle as the holidays progress. Or why not try something different like:

Happy Holidays, and Happy Eating! 🙂