5 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

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The holidays are supposed to be a fun, joyous time–but too often, the stress, travel, and overindulging that comes with this season can wreak havoc on your well-being.

Here are five tips for staying healthy this holiday season from our providers at One Medical Group.

1. Add More Good Stuff to Crowd Out the Bad

Most of us know which dishes on the table are healthy – this year, try eating more of the healthier choices first. You’ll make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs, and you’ll begin to feel satisfied before you’ve even hit the more decadent dishes.

So start with the salad and the veggies (as long as they’re not covered in butter or high-calorie dressing!), then go back for a smaller portion of the more indulgent dishes.

This rule doesn’t just have to apply to the big holiday feast–consider adding one plant-based meal a day (no meat), or start your day with a fresh green juice in the morning.

2. Look for Healthy Swaps

The Web is full of creative alternatives for high-calorie, high-fat ingredients. Take some time to research these, and then try swapping these healthier alternatives into your favorite recipes.

For example, you can reduce the amount of salt you use by swapping in seasonings with an acid bite, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. You can replace sour cream or mayo with nonfat Green yogurt, or substitute nutritional yeast for high-fat cheese.

Another great swap is using bakes apples or applesauce in cookie or cake recipes to cut down on sugar and butter. And don’t forget quinoa: This versatile, high-fiber seed can be used in place of bread in many stuffing recipes.

Looking for inspiration in the kitchen? Check out our Healthy Recipes Pinterest page for fun ideas and healthier alternatives to classic recipes.

3. Avoid Getting Run Down When You’re Traveling

If you’re traveling this holiday season, there’s a good chance your airline seat companion will be coughing and stuffing used tissues into the seat pocket in front of him. While it may be tough to reduce this kind of exposure, you can take steps to protect your natural immunity before you travel.

Make sure you get plenty of sleep before your trip, and think about ways to reduce travel anxiety beforehand. Be prepared by packing ahead of time, creating a checklist, and giving yourself plenty of time to arrive at the airport.

Once you’re on the plane, drink plenty of water to avoid getting dehydrated. And wash your hands for 20 seconds or longer, especially before eating and after using the restroom.

Nervous flier? Don’t miss Natural Treatments for Flight Anxiety.

4. Get Your Friends and Family Involved

The holidays are the perfect time to engage your friends and family in new healthy traditions.

Data shows that people who connect with friends and family on health and wellness apps get better results. This year, consider getting everyone in the family to sign up and connect on MyFitnessPal, or get your parents and siblings Fitbits. The whole family can compete to see who gets the most steps!

5. Get a Flu Shot

Flu season typically runs from October to March, so it’s not too late to get a flu shot. Our providers recommend that anyone over the age of six months get a flu shot–especially pregnant women, kids, older people and anyone with a chronic medical condition.

And even if you got a flu shot last year, get another one this year. Several studies have demonstrated that immunity declines over the course of a year, and the viruses themselves change. This year’s flu shot is different from last year’s, and is geared to be more effective against the viruses we expect to be circulating this year.

Here’s to a fun, healthy holiday!

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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. The One Medical Group entities and 1Life Healthcare, Inc. make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.