Healthy Holidays!: 4 Seasonal Diet and Lifestyle Tips

Stress is one of the leading causes of overeating year-round, but it can be especially troublesome during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. When you’re stressed out, your body produces cortisol and the sugary treats we indulge in this time of year spike insulin–both of these hormones are linked to not only belly fat but also heart risks. So, controlling stress will help you have a healthier lifestyle and a better diet! Here are four ways to do it:

Be prepared.
 It can be tough to eat well on the go. Pack a small bag with healthy snack options like nuts, fruit, and protein bars to snack on while you shop. Munching these healthy choices will keep your blood sugar at an even keel. If you’re going to be shopping for several hours, don’t skip a meal as doing so will cause your blood sugar to nosedive. Instead, take time to relax and enjoy a healthy option from a nearby restaurant.

Make it a twofer. If you’re headed to the mall anyway, why not walk briskly around it before you start shopping? Even small boosts of activity can lower the stress hormones. And, the effect lasts; activity not only burns off current stress but can also help fend off the effects of future tension, making it a preemptive strike! If you have a gym routine, make a point to keep it up as the endorphins produced during a good workout will go a long way toward curbing stress and overeating!

Pause to relax and breathe. When you’re running around getting all your usual errands done in addition to the holiday hustle, it can be easy to forget to relax. Simply taking a five minute break with your feet on the floor and your shoulders relaxed can have a significant de-stressing effect, especially if you close your eyes and do some deep breathing–just breathe in deeply through your nose and exhale out slowly through your mouth a few times.

Put your food choices to work. With a little planning, you can prevent overeating and keep anxiety at bay. For instance, eating a serving of lean protein with all of your meals can prevent anxiety-spiking blood sugar dips while boosting stress fighting hormones. Or, try having a snack with a combo of protein, healthy fat, and fiber before a party to avoid overindulging.