Celebrate holidays without sacrificing healthy goals

Stay on track with your health goals during the holiday season.

LifeSynch, a Humana subsidiary, offers extensive health behavior resources, including behavioral healthcare, employee assistance program (EAP)/work-life services, behavioral pharmacy services, health coaches and Web-based wellness tools. As part of their commitment to change health behaviors and improve lives, LifeSynch’s health coaches will be contributing a series of articles that demonstrate how easy it can be to make a healthy change.

The holidays are a special time of year, but the celebrations can derail our healthy eating goals. Statistics show that most Americans will gain one pound during the holidays. That may not seem so bad, but even if you gain only one pound during one season of the year, that’s still adds up to a big difference in 10 or 20 years. And let’s be honest, most of us will gain a pound or two here and there at other times of the year if we are not careful. The reminders below may make it a little bit easier to stick to your goals and prevent you from gaining an extra pound or two during the holidays.

Don’t drink too much
Holiday drinks, especially those containing alcohol, can contain a lot of calories especially if you aren’t paying close attention to how much you are having. You may also drift over to the buffet table a little more often if you are drinking a little more than you should. Try drinking more water and replacing high-calorie alcoholic beverages with lower-calorie alternatives such as a wine spritzer (2 ounces of wine mixed with club soda and a little cranberry juice. And as another alternative, check out this wonderful hot chocolate recipe during the holidays:

No-Sugar-Added Minty Hot Cocoa

  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons Agave natural sweetener
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 cup of 1 percent milk
  •  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Mix cocoa, natural sweetener and salt in large mug. Heat milk in microwave for 1-1/2 minutes, until hot. Gradually add hot milk to cocoa mixture in mug, stirring until well-blended. Stir in vanilla and peppermint. Yields 1 serving. (more…)

Have a Happy – and Healthier – Holiday Season

By Ramona Cash, Personal Health Coach at LifeSynch, a Humana company

It’s a special time of year as we reconnect with family and friends at holiday gatherings. But these social events usually involve tempting treats that can derail our healthy eating goals. Statistics show that most Americans gain at least a pound during the holidays. That may not sound so bad, but an extra pound or two every year adds up.  How do you prevent the weight gain while not skipping any of the fun of the season? It can (almost) be as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Holiday parties: Don’t arrive hungry! Eat a small healthful snack, such as Greek yogurt or a handful of nuts, before you leave home. If you arrive with an empty stomach, you are more likely to stay at the buffet table and load up on sweets and fatty foods.
  2. Make time for exercise: A moderate, daily increase in exercise can help offset a little holiday overindulgence. Make it fun and you’re more likely to stay on track. Incorporate exercise into your family traditions: Go for a walk instead of a drive to enjoy Christmas lights. Instead of watching TV or videos, get the whole family involved in an activity such as bowling or playing an interactive fitness game like Your Shape 2012.
  3. Limit alcohol: Holiday drinks can be full of empty calories and increase the likelihood of mindless snacking. Drink more water and replace high-calorie alcoholic beverages with lower-calorie alternatives such as a wine spritzer (2 ounces of wine mixed with club soda and a little cranberry juice)

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