The holidays can be stressful, for a variety of reasons. There’s the shopping, the travel, the pressure of large family gatherings, and the worry over weight gain. The last one, however, doesn’t have to be a stressor. There are a few easy ways to stay healthy during the holidays without depriving yourself.

Get Outside

While the winter weather makes it extra tempting to stay snug under blankets, make an effort to get your exercise out-of-doors. Strolling through your neighborhood to look at the lights can burn 258 calories per hour. Going ice skating with your family burns a whopping 547 calories per hour – not to mention helping tone your legs and tush! Plus, after all that exercise, curling up under a blanket will feel even better!

Say Yes To Superfoods!

Luckily, many superfoods are already part of our holiday diet – so yes, make that sweet potato casserole, just leave off the marshmallows! Have a slice of apple pie – but probably not two slices. As for the cranberry jelly, unfortunately store-bought jellies are often loaded up with sugar. Try making a cranberry relish instead – same cranberry flavor, far fewer calories!

Lighten Up

The cranberry jelly isn’t the only holiday dish that could use a little less – try substituting lighter options into old favorites. Leave the marshmallows off the sweet potato casserole; take the fried onions off the green beans; don’t add cheese to your mashed potatoes. And don’t forget to make full use of your spice cabinet – the proper use of spices can add flavor to a dish without adding on the calories.

Make a Plan

I know that it’s tempting to load up your plate and dive on in, but it’s better for your health to have a meal plan in place before the holiday dinner. Pick and choose the dishes you want to eat, and be sure to stick to reasonable portions. Do you want seconds? Wait 10-15 minutes before you decide, and let your body tell you what it needs.

Don’t Guilt Yourself

Even if you overindulge, it’s not the end of the world. The holidays come but once a year – so enjoy them!

Image Credit: Malene Thyssen