#NOWAmbassador and ultra runner Meghan Kennihan is a USA Track & Field coach and a RRCA (Road Runners of America) certified distance coach. She is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and a level 3 USA Cycling Coach.
The holidays are here, and with lots of food and fare to celebrate, our wellness habits are often challenged. Below are some tips to help you be more mindful with your diet this season, plus a BONUS 16-minute anytime, anywhere workout that will leave you feeling empowered to make better choices.
Tip 1: Eat Before the Party. I never like to go to a party on an empty stomach. That’s a given that I’m going to overindulge. Try to eat a small, high-protein meal about an hour before the party, even something simple like a smoothie made with protein powder. My favorites are Chocolate or Vanilla Whey Protein, but if you prefer a plant-based option, try the Plant Protein Complex.
Tip 2: Everything in Moderation. Knowing which foods offer little nutritional benefit (high calories, high fat, sugar, etc.) is important to help you keep your habits in check, while still enjoying all the goodness the holidays offer. You don't need to deprive yourself, but indulge in moderation. One easy swap I make is with beverages. I’ll often pass on the eggnog, and instead, enjoy a “sweet” beverage made with Slender Sticks. I also keep a bag of Crunchy Clusters or dried fruit, like Papaya Spears, on hand so I can munch on those instead of richly-prepared appetizers.
Tip 3: Be mindful of the sauces, dips and gravies. You may only have a tablespoon here or there, but these “toppings” can easily add hundreds of calories to your meal. Lighten these up by making lower fat versions using Ellyndale® Organics cooking oils as a base. Try this Lemon & Thyme Gravy made with Organic Canola Oil.
Tip 4: Plan Your Exercise. Holiday schedules and colder weather can put a damper on our exercise, but don’t let it. Put your workouts in your planner and stick to them as if they are an important job meeting or doctor appointment. It doesn’t need to take an hour. Even 15-20 minutes of focused exercise a day can do the trick. Give this bodyweight workout a try. You can do it ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, and it’s only 16 minutes!
You can even sign up for a local race like a Turkey Trot or a Reindeer Run to make your training official and look forward to a fitness event this season.
Tips 5: Find Ways to Relax. Holidays are a stressful time. You not only have work stress but the new commitments to family and friends can be an additional burden. You might feel the financial stress of gifts, travel, and dinner parties. Don't over commit, take care of yourself and don't feel guilty about saying NO. Consider starting a 10-minute meditation practice using an app or just use that time to sit quietly and count your breaths. Take a walk or try 30 minutes of yoga. Use a Diffuser and Essential Oils to create a more relaxing environment.