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The tree is glowing, holiday stations are rotating, and fir-scented candles are burning. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Obviously, I’m ready for the holidays as far as appearances go, but one thing none of us can prepare for is the pace. It’s as if time speeds up once December 1 arrives. It goes something like this: decorating, baking, shopping, traveling, school activities, parties with friends and family, re-decorating (Christmas tree OCD, anyone?), shopping some more, baking some more, tape, scissors, ribbon, bows. Amidst three weeks of festive frenzy, what could fall to the wayside? Health and fitness? No way!
Functioning well under pressure is nothing new to me. Fourteen years of freelancing plus a genetic predisposition for never sitting still will do that to you. So, while the holiday craziness isn’t far from ordinary for me, I can’t avoid making changes in my schedule and my habits. I keep it simple and practical: I shorten workouts when time is tight, and I give my diet a little bit of a longer leash. Holiday celebrations only come once a year, and I refuse to spoil my fun with guilt about indulging in buttery, sugary, cheesy, chocolatey delights. I’m not invited to that many parties anyway.
If you want to enjoy the holidays without straying too far from your usual healthy habits, I’ve put together a short list of tips, recipes, and shortcuts to make it easier. Here’s to a season of slight indulgences, well-deserved breaks, and lifelong memories!
- Road-ready. If you’re traveling for the holidays, pack some extra nutrition in your luggage. From protein shakes to superfood powder to Juice Plus+ chewables, there are lots of options to take your nutrition on the road.
- “Yes” to YouTube. I’ve recently discovered the vast selection of fitness videos online, including some killer 10 to 30-minute workouts. Whether you’re into yoga, body-weight resistance, or weight lifting, there’s a workout that’ll fit your needs.
- Smart swaps. If you’re like me, you roll your eyes at all the morning-show segments telling you how to cut calories at holiday parties. Where’s the fun in that? Instead, make some simple substitutions in your regular diet to accommodate the occasional indulgence throughout the season: try riced cauliflower for regular rice (brown or white); make a batch of Paleo muffins (this recipe is a favorite); and replace empty-carb pasta with the lentil or black bean variety.
- Sugar busters. If your sweet tooth is relentless (like mine), try tricking it with these super-simple, healthy treats:
PUMPKIN SPICE ENERGY BITES
Recipe courtesy of Tracy Irwin
- 1½ cup rolled oats
- 2½ tsp. pumpkin spice
- 1/3 cup honey
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup almond or cashew butter
- 2 scoops of Complete by Juice Plus+ French Vanilla
Add all ingredients to the food processor and blend until well mixed. Roll into bite-size balls and enjoy!
CHOCOLATE-COVERED COOKIE BITES
Recipe courtesy of Sherry Huddleston
- 1 cup Complete by Juice Plus+ Dutch Chocolate
- 3 cups dairy-free, semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup organic peanut butter or almond butter
- 1 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup honey
- Melt chocolate chips over medium heat over a double boiler.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients until well combined.
- Roll into 1” balls and dip them in the melted chocolate and put on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
- Refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow chocolate to harden.
Do you have any tips to stay healthy during the holidays? Share in the comments!