Happy, Healthy Holidays Made Easier

healthy holidays

’Tis the season for holiday parties, potlucks and gift giving that often involves food. Instead of feeling deprived of special homemade treats and fun social outings this time of year, try these strategies for a happy and healthy holiday season that encourages a good time without the humbug.

Host a Healthier Potluck

Try these tips to host a holiday potluck that encourages healthy eating:

  • Have a sign-up sheet that includes categories for salads, sides with fruits and veggies.
  • Serve food with measuring cups instead of spoons to create awareness about serving amounts.
  • Provide smaller plates to reduce portion size.
  • Consider adding a healthy recipe challenge. Ask everyone to create a healthier version of a holiday favorite and share the recipe with the group.

Provide Healthy Snacks

The holidays often prompt people to share their favorite homemade treats, which may include too much sugar that can make people feel sluggish. Some healthy snack suggestions include:

  • Peanut butter walnut energy bites
  • Trail mix bars
  • Raw veggies and hummus
  • Replace a bowl of candy with bowls of nuts and fresh or dried fruit
  • Avoid bringing leftover treats to work. It’s important for all of us to support each other in working toward our healthy goals.

Encourage Non-Food Events

The holidays are a great time to support and encourage each other to maintain healthy goals by offering alternatives, or additions, to the traditional potluck. Some group activities to consider:

  • Plan an ugly sweater fun run/walk.
  • Make seasonal crafts to take home, keep in the office or donate.
  • Plan a white elephant gift exchange.
  • Create holiday baskets filled with healthy food items to give to each other or donate.
  • Volunteer together at a local non-profit.

Reduce and Manage Stress

Extra socializing, cooking and spending can create added stress this time of year. Try these tips to reduce and manage stress:

  • Strive to continue daily movement and prioritize healthy eating.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, drink in moderation.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Stick to a budget and shopping list to avoid impulse buys.
  • Remember it’s OK to say no to events that don’t bring you joy.
  • Consider volunteering or taking a break from social media.

Healthy Holiday Resources

  • Visit Stride In the Kitchen for healthy holiday recipes, including a new and improved Sweet Potato Casserole.
  • For more healthy holiday recipes, visit Zipongo. (Log in or register for an account and go to the Recipes tab. From there, search for healthy holiday recipes.)
  • Get help managing your budget. You have free access to a variety of finance-related resources via the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), including up to two free consultations with an EAP Money Coach. Call 866-781-6396 anytime for confidential help.