In today’s fast-paced world, planning a healthy holiday season can often take a back seat. Over the years, I’ve heard complex opinions about the holidays from clients. Some health-conscious individuals dread the holidays, wondering how they can eat well while visiting loved ones who will present a vast buffet of refined-sugar snacks or ingredients that are high on their “avoid’ list. Others secretly look forward to the seduction, using the pressure of social guidelines as a way of putting their healthy lifestyles on hold for a few months.
Of course, there’s no wonder as to why gym memberships are ubiquitous in January. Suddenly we wake up to feeling sluggish and out of sorts, and we can’t quite seem to fit into our clothes the way we did in October.
Unless you have a specific allergy, there’s no harm in having a little fun during the festivities. However, you also don’t have to totally sabotage your health. In this comprehensive wellness article, we will explore various aspects of staying healthy and happy throughout November and the upcoming holiday season. Let’s dive in!
Embracing Seasonal Produce
As the crisp autumn leaves begin to fall and the holiday season draws near, there’s something magical about the fresh produce available in November. This bountiful month offers a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables that can elevate your Thanksgiving meals to new heights. November fresh produce is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health. They can boost your immune system and provide essential nutrients in a delicious, festive way.
Pumpkins: The Autumn Superstar
When you think of November, pumpkins immediately come to mind. These orange gourds are the stars of autumn, and pumpkin pie is an iconic Thanksgiving dessert. You can also explore savory pumpkin dishes that will surprise and delight your taste buds. From creamy pumpkin soup to roasted pumpkin with herbs, there's a savory pumpkin recipe for everyone.
Cranberries: Tangy, Tart, and Terrific
No Thanksgiving celebration is complete without cranberry sauce. However, cranberries aren't limited to sauce; they can be used in a variety of creative recipes. From cranberry-glazed chicken to cranberry-studded muffins, explore innovative ways to incorporate cranberries into your holiday traditions.
Roasted Root Vegetable Medley
Root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and turnips are at their best in November. Create a colorful and nutritious roasted root vegetable medley that will complement your main dishes beautifully. And if you have a nightshade allergy with white potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, with their natural sweetness and creamy texture, are a beloved holiday side dish alternative.
Winter Greens: Freshness on Your Plate
Balance the richness of holiday meals with a nutrient-packed winter greens salad. You can also sauté winter greens with garlic for a simple yet satisfying side dish. In November, fresh produce brings both flavor and nutrition to your holiday meals. Embrace the season by incorporating pumpkins, cranberries, root vegetables, and winter greens into your recipes. Your taste buds and your health will thank you.
While it’s easy to remember to drink water during the summer, staying hydrated is just as important in colder months. Freezing temperatures can dehydrate your cells even quicker than the heat. Ensure you’re drinking enough water to keep your body functioning optimally. Herbal teas and warm lemon water can be delightful alternatives to the blandness from your tap.
Mindful Eating During Holiday Feasts
Holiday gatherings often mean indulgent feasts. While it’s perfectly fine to enjoy these special moments, practice mindful eating. Savor each bite, pay attention to your body’s hunger cues, and avoid overindulging. By being mindful and taking the time in the present moment to fully enjoy what you’re tasting, you allow your digestive system the time to process and tell you when you are full. And not being too full helps you to enjoy a healthy holiday season.
Incorporating Physical Activity into Your November Routine
The winter season often brings about a desire to hibernate indoors and cozy up by the fireplace. However, staying active during this chilly time of year is essential for maintaining physical and mental well-being. Engaging in regular exercise, even during winter, offers numerous benefits. It helps you maintain your fitness level, prevents weight gain, and boosts your immune system, keeping you healthier throughout the colder months.
Exercise is a natural mood lifter and can be especially effective in alleviating the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that typically occurs during the winter months. You can read more about SAD in a previous blog article.
Setting Goals and Rewards
To combat the winter blues, set achievable exercise goals and reward yourself for sticking to them. These goals can provide the motivation you need to get moving. And working out with a friend or family member can provide accountability and make exercising more enjoyable. Select activities that you genuinely enjoy. This will make it easier to stay committed throughout the season.
You don't need a lot of space or equipment to create a home gym. Invest in basic workout equipment like resistance bands, dumbbells, and a yoga mat. You can also find a selection of DVDs or online workout programs and apps that offer guided workouts for all fitness levels, allowing you to exercise in the comfort of your home.
If it’s affordable, consider joining a local gym with indoor facilities, especially if you prefer a more structured workout environment. Many times you can join classes for yoga, aerobics, spinning, or marital arts, which can not only give you a great workout, but can also introduce you to fun social circles that will make you look forward to hitting the gym. And if a personal trainer is more your thing, there’s no better place to look for one than at the front desk.
Outdoor Winter Activities
The winter can be a fabulous time to enjoy the outdoors. Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and hiking are all activities you can enjoy with friends and family. Remember to dress warmly and be cautious of icy conditions.
Tackle the Holidays with Confidence
November is the perfect time to set the stage for a joyful and healthy holiday season. By focusing on nutrition, exercise, mental well-being, and self-care, you can navigate the upcoming festivities with ease. Remember to prioritize quality sleep, manage your finances wisely, and spread joy to others. With these wellness tips, you’ll not only survive but thrive during November and beyond.