How to Keep the Holidays Healthy, but Still Fun!

Now that it’s November, it’s completely acceptable to play Christmas music right??  However you answered that, you can’t argue that everywhere you go, Thanksgiving and Christmas surround you!  Decorations and food – it’s all changed from Fall and Halloween, to the Holidays (and I’m not complaining!).  But with the Holidays, come a lot of ways to overindulge.  It can be hard to strike a balance from being healthy to enjoying yourself.  Luckily, I’ve rounded up several tips on how you can keep the Holidays healthy, but still have fun 🙂

It's not always easy to merge having fun and staying healthy, but these tips, tricks, and real life examples will show you how you can keep your Holidays healthy but still have fun! Don't compromise tradition, and don't gain weight! It's a win-win!

Let’s Keep the Holidays Healthy!

The Holiday Season is upon us and I couldn’t be happier!  I absolutely love Thanksgiving and Christmas for so many reasons!  There’s always a ton of different activities going on around town.  All the houses look so cheerful.  The stores and shops have tons of goodies.  There’s so much delicious food and snacks and treats.  And most importantly, there’s so much time spent with family!

Christmas Cookies - How to Keep the Holidays Healthy but Still Fun!

With all of these positive aspects, there is one downside to the Holidays though– weight gain.  It’s very typical for people to put on just a few pounds over the next few months or lose that definition they worked so hard to gain.  Why?  For so many of those very reasons I listed above that are positive!  Spending time with family often involves eating a lot of food!  With it being the winter, there’s not as much activity or movement because you don’t go outside as much.  Put those two together, and you’ve got extra calories going in that aren’t going out.

The problem is, there seems to be two extremes.  Those that say “screw it, it’s the Holidays, I’m gonna eat what I want and then work it off later”.  I’m not a huge fan of this because let’s be honest, when you eat like crap, you feel like crap.  But on the other hand, you have people that say “well I can’t eat any chocolate or cookies or mashed potatoes because those aren’t included in my meal plan”.  And I’m not a huge fan of that either!  You don’t get to enjoy any of the fantastic food!  Where’s the fun in that?


So what are we to do?  Follow these simple tips of course!  You don’t have to go overboard in either direction this year.  And YES, you can stay healthy over the holidays without being a buzz kill!

  • Find a fun race to compete in with your family! Over Thanksgiving, tons of cities put on a Turkey Trot.  Over Christmas, it’s typically called something along the lines of a Jingle Ball, or Jingle Run.  All of these races are the perfect way to start a long day of eating!  Not only do you get your workout in, but you get to do it with family.  And those good endorphins will seriously set the tone for the rest of the day!   Bonus – most of the races have an awesome goodie at the end (the Flying Feather 4 Miler in Columbus, OH gives out a bottle of WINE to each runner!  That’s my kind of race!)
  • Keep your portions in check.  This is one of the biggest issues when it comes to Holiday eating, but it also an easy one to fix! Go ahead and try a bit of everything but take small portions.  This will help you to not overdo it and then feel terrible afterwards!

Share portions - How to Keep the Holidays Healthy but Still Fun!

  • SHARE!  So everything looks amazing right?  And you want to try everything?  Grab a few friends, brother, mother, whoever, and share it.  Take a little slice of pie AND a cookie, and share it with them.  This way you get to have a bite or two of each but aren’t eating the entire serving.
  • Offer to bring something to the family get-together and make it a healthy option!  At least you’ll know there’s one item on the table that won’t be loaded with calories. Be on the lookout in a week or two for some healthy Thanksgiving options!  I’ve also got healthy Christmas options on the lineup in December 🙂
  • Swap out some ingredients when baking to make them healthier versions.  Use unsweetened applesauce instead of butter, skim milk instead of whole, and whole wheat flour instead of white. You can still enjoy your favorite treats, but they won’t hit your waist line quite as much.
  • Schedule time to go to the gym or workout at home.  With family and friends around, it can be hard to make time to work out.  Wake up a bit earlier and head to the gym.  Or try out any of my workouts that can be done right at home (here’s a few – upper body, lower body, planks, core).  You’ll feel so much better after your workout, shower, and a nice cup of coffee! (Doing a morning workout on my day off is one of my favorite things.  It helps me get my day started early and on the right foot.  I’m much more productive during the day and I make healthier choices!)
  • If you can’t make it to the gym or work out at home, no worries, there are plenty of other activities to keep you active!  Go for a nice walk, ice skate, sled, throw the football, or anything else you and your family like to do! A little cold weather shouldn’t stop you, just bundle up!  Bonus – you can enjoy some hot chocolate afterwards 🙂

Walk in the snow - How to Keep the Holidays Healthy but Still Fun!

  • RELAX!  This is not so much a real tip, but it might be the most important. Try not to be so hard on yourself.  You won’t gain ten pounds.  As long as you’re somewhat conscious of what you’re eating, you’ll be fine!  If you do overindulge on something, that’s OKAY!  It happens.  But don’t beat yourself up about it and decide “well, I’ve already overdone it, why not keep it going”.  Just make smarter choices next time.  The Holidays should be about having fun and enjoying time with family!

Related – If you have a fitness fanatic in your life and are struggling what to get them, check out this post on 75 awesome gift ideas!!


Here’s a few more real-life tips and examples from fellow friends!

Malini from Lakes and Lattes
  1. We try to do activities instead of food-focused parties with friends. For example, we’ve switched the cookie exchange for a fun night with our friends and their families at Zoo lights – walking around, singing carols, taking pictures.
  2. Swap a not so healthy tradition for something healthier. A few years ago we switched our yearly tradition of eating pie for breakfast on Black Friday and the day after Christmas, with going on a big walk (family, kids, dogs, etc) after our holiday meal instead.  We look at the lights, have good conversation and work off some calories before we eat dessert.
  3. A personal thing, but I’ve tried really hard not to let the holidays linger… so I always let myself fully enjoy the holiday meal – wine, pie, appetizers and all – but I start the next day with a green veggie juice for breakfast and renew my efforts to be healthy. Hard with leftovers tempting you, so give away food to family, bring treats into the office for your coworkers, or worse case – vacuum seal and freeze leftover desserts to be brought out at a later time (I do this with everything from Halloween candy to leftover birthday cake… I love my food saver).  We also try to do less of the unhealthy stuff (pies, fattening side dishes) and more of the veggies/turkey/protein so we don’t have much junky food left over.
Lindsay from Find Where You Fit
  1. Decide what decadent traditions mean the most to you and let yourself indulge fully in them. Don’t ruin a happy occasion with feelings of guilt or remorse.  Really taste and enjoy your aunt’s signature cookie and that slab of Thanksgiving pie.  Skip the other things that come your way that don’t bring you as much joy.
  2. Around the holidays, we get to see a lot of friends who are home visiting. Look for fitness events around town as a fun way to get together.  Instead of automatically deciding to grab dinner, search for things line Vino and Vinyasa or Bend and Brew.  You’ll make awesome memories that way too!  If you’re in the Columbus area, Lindsay has an awesome guide on events like this! Check it out here – November Events Guide

If you can follow a few of these tips, I guarantee you’ll get through the Holidays without any damage and still have a blast!  You truly can keep the Holidays healthy, but still have fun!

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Many people put on a pound or two over the Holidays, but you don't have to compromise having fun or being healthy! Check out these tips and real life examples of how you can make your holidays healthy without being a buzzkill!

What are some of the things you do to keep your Holidays healthy?

2 thoughts on “How to Keep the Holidays Healthy, but Still Fun!

    1. Thanks Tara! That’s exactly what I was going for! Nothing crazy, but simple, easy tips to implement that will make a big difference!

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