How to make healthy choices during the Holidays

During the holidays, family gatherings are often synonymous with a well-laden table: traditional meat pies, yule logs, various sweets and desserts all serve to tempt us and make our hearts sing, but sometimes, they leave their effects on the body. How can we balance fun and health during this time of rejoicing?

Let’s be honest, December is often not the month where we are the most concerned with our health. Absorbed by holiday preparations, and by celebrations, we sometimes forget the ramifications of our dietary choices, stress, lack of sleep and of other less than healthy choices we temporarily adopt. Isn’t Santa Claus the perfect figure exemplifying this typical overindulgence during the holidays with his gleeful look and his big round stomach?

The holidays can sometimes be synonymous with “holiday faux pas”, especially in terms of diet. Several people give themselves permission to let things slide and this isn’t without consequences… starting with the feelings of guilt.

Eating poorly or too much has many inconveniences, such as:

  • gives you nausea or a sore stomach;
  • gives you diarrhea;
  • stops you from getting a good night’s sleep;
  • contributes to weight gain which is typical for this time of year;
  • disrupts your blood glucose (level of sugar in the blood) if you are diabetic.

Here are a few tips on how to make healthy choices before and during these holiday gatherings:

  • Get a healthy-eating cookbook. Several of these recipes are just as tasty, but they help you make healthier and more reasonable dietary choices.
  • Choose recipes which are lower in sugar and saturated fat.
  • Limit cold cuts and cheeses that are high in fat when preparing your spread; choose raw vegetables instead.
  • Beware of chocolate, which often contains a lot of sugar, fat and calories.
  • Don’t deprive yourself of eating before a party so you can overeat later on. Eat well and reasonably, until you are satisfied, during the time you are at the event.
  • Offer your guests a hearty vegetable soup to start off the meal.
  • Take a smaller plate and return to the buffet if you are still hungry. Overflowing plates often lead to overeating.
  • Pay attention to the signs that you are full. If you are eating “just to indulge yourself”, be aware of it and try to limit yourself.
  • If you are thirsty, drink water and limit your consumption of drinks that are not healthy for you, such as soft drinks.
  • Try to exercise. Being active together, such as taking a pleasant walk in the country or trekking on snowshoes, can be an opportunity to exchange with loved ones.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption. This can have many benefits:
    • allow you to better enjoy the party;
    • allows you to show your most flattering side;
    • avoids unpleasant symptoms such as nausea and headache;
    • makes the trip home safer;
    • makes the morning after much more pleasant;
    • reduces the excess calories which contribute to weight gain.

Propose a “smoke-free” party. Remember that exposure to second-hand smoke is just as bad for your health.

During the holidays, you can cut yourself some well-deserved slack, especially if you have put in the effort all year long! You can be enthusiastic while letting your more reasonable side do its part. And when you do cross the line of overindulgence, and you feel its effects, remember that your pharmacist is always there to help you!

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How to make healthy choices during the Holidays

During the holidays, family gatherings are often synonymous with a well-laden table: traditional meat pies, yule logs, various sweets and desserts all serve to tempt us and make our hearts sing, but sometimes, they leave their effects on the body. How can we balance fun and health during this time of rejoicing?
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