Tips for Staying Healthy and Happy over the Holidays | YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka
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Tips for Staying Healthy and Happy over the Holidays

10 Tips for Staying Healthy and Happy These Holidays

The holiday season is fast approaching and many of us are concerned that we will sabotage all the hard work and healthy eating that we’ve been doing over the past few months. It’s so tempting to gorge on the big meals of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. Then comes the dessert plates filled with pies, cookies, chocolates and ice cream. Don’t forget about the parties and high sugar snacks and drinks that are sure to be offered to you over the holidays. With stress levels high and less available time for regular workouts, it’s easy to understand how people can gain 10 extra pounds over a few short weeks. But don’t despair — this year can be different! Here are some great ways to enjoy the holidays and stay healthy!

  1. Stick to one “cheat” meal per week. You will be tempted to cheat more often over the holidays, but by allowing yourself one “cheat” meal per week, you won’t feel deprived.
  2. Start your day with a nutrient dense whole food breakfast. This will give you sustained energy that will last until lunch time – so you won’t feel the need to snack on those holidays treats all day.
  3. Eat your largest meal of the day at lunch and make sure to include some protein, complex carbs and good fats.
  4. If eating out, choose the restaurant you know has healthy choices on the menu.
  5. Plan, shop, and prep your weekly meals on Sunday. This will help prevent the urge of making poor food choices.
  6. Time is often in short supply over the holidays, but on busy days, try to break down your exercise into small 10 minute sessions. 10 minutes when you get up, 10 minutes at lunch and 10 minutes when you get home in the evening. Studies have found that short sessions like these are still very effective.
  7. Exercise at least 3 times per week. Book classes in advance – you’ll be less likely to not show up.
  8. Do a mix of both cardio and strength training throughout the week and avoid doing the same workout two days in a row.
  9. Take time to relax – it’s an important part of staying healthy and fit during holidays! Not only is relaxing good for your mind and stress levels, but it also means that you’ll have enough energy for your workouts on other days.
  10. Play games and have fun – seriously! There is a great deal of research that suggests that adults do not play enough. Playing helps to reduce stress and increase out mental health.

Healthy Food Choices

If you’re looking for ways to make your holiday dinner healthier this year, keep in mind that most dishes can be made healthier by tweaking a few ingredients. Here are some ideas:
Mashed potato – use oat milk and olive oil rather than cream and butter
Stuffing – use mushrooms, whole grain bread and 100% apple juice as a liquid in place of butter
Cakes & pastries – use whole grain flour instead of white flour and reduce the sugar in all recipes by half

Wishing you all a healthy and happy holiday from The YMCA of Simcoe / Muskoka.

About the YMCA Healthy Hearts Program

The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is now offering the Healthy Hearts Program, in partnership with the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH). Located at the Barrie and Innisfil YMCAs, the program provides supervised rehabilitation services that are structured based on each individual’s needs and goals. The program is designed to provide a smooth transition from the RVH Cardiac Rehab program and help people regain their strength, reduce the risk of future cardiac episodes and improve their health and quality of life. For more information, please contact the YMCA Healthy Hearts Team at 705-726-6421 ext. 231 or



Written by  Joel Seymour who is a Healthy Hearts Specialist at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

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