By: Kalee Tinker, UMaine Dietetic Intern at the Maine Dairy & Nutrition Council
It’s that time of year again. That’s right. It’s the holiday season. This year the holidays will be different for most of us.
Regardless of the ongoing pandemic, we can still feel the joy and happiness unique to this time of year. Now, more than ever, everyone could use some holiday spirit. During the holiday season, it is easy to get stressed and overwhelmed.
As a result, your health may be put on the back burner. Remembering to pay attention to your health may help reduce some of that. To help make your health a top priority, there are some easy steps and tips you can follow to remain happy and healthy during this season.
The first tip is to move around and exercise. Exercise has been proven to help relieve stress, increase motivation throughout the day, and as a bonus, is beneficial to physical health. The winter months and social distancing can propose some barriers to exercising, but there are plenty of ways to get your heart pumping.
Going to the gym might be out for you, but there are still winter-friendly workouts like skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, or online workout videos. Nowadays, you can find plenty of free exercise videos on YouTube or Google that can be done in the comfort of your home, including yoga, high-intensity training, or even “walk-a-mile” videos.
The holidays can be hectic. It may seem that there isn’t enough time to exercise. However, taking 15 minutes out of your day to exercise will make you feel better physically and help you cope with some of the stress you may be experiencing.
The second tip is to not worry about what you’re eating. Instead, try to think about how much. One of the best parts of the holiday season is the food, so the holiday season is so joyous. The most important thing to remember when it comes to food and the holidays is portion control.
It is important to remember that it is okay to have dessert at your holiday dinner as long as it is one serving. Allowing yourself to have dessert eliminates the craving and reduces the chance of eating a large serving of leftovers later on. Most importantly, it tastes good and makes you happy.
The last tip is to add some extra milk to your diet during the holiday season. Milk is fortified with vitamin D and an excellent source of calcium. Adequate amounts of Vitamin D have been proven to be beneficial to mood and preventing depression.
Dairy foods offer us a way to get enough vitamin D daily if consumed in adequate amounts. Some ways to increase dairy consumption during the holidays could be having a glass of milk with dessert or hot chocolate made with milk.
During this upcoming holiday season, remember that taking care of your health through diet and exercise can help alleviate some of the stress you may be dealing with. The holidays are supposed to be a joyous, fun time. Let’s keep it that way by taking some time to exercise. Limit the amount you eat, not what you eat, and have an extra glass of milk with your holiday treat.