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12 Days of Healthy Holiday Activities & Food Swaps

It’s no secret that the holidays are full of family, friends and food. While this makes this time of year special, the large meals at family dinners and long days spent holiday shopping can leave you feeling drained. To keep you feeling your best this time of year, here are some activities that will leave your mind energized and some healthy food swaps to keep your plate healthy and your stomach happy. 

Healthy Holiday Activities

  1. Take a walk. If you find yourself stuck in a cycle of holiday movie marathons, take a break now and then to get your body moving. A brisk outdoor walk can help lower your blood sugar, improve your mood and help you clear your head.
  2. Hold a ‘no screen time’ family night. When you’re ‘unplugged’ with your family, you can be more present with your loved ones. Activities to include in your ‘no screen time’ night are puzzles, scavenger hunts and board games.
  3. Take a trip to visit local museums. When you want to get your body moving when it’s too chilly outside, visiting local museums is a great option. The Booth Western Art Museum, Tellus Science Museum and Martha Berry Museum are all local and engaging ways to spend a few hours. 
  4. Dedicate some time to prioritize self-care. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, taking care of yourself can fall to the back burner. Set aside one night a week to relax and participate in some of your favorite activities. 
  5. Spend an afternoon at a local park. Try to make a point about going outside often to get some exercise and vitamin D, which can help raise energy levels and improve your mood.
  6. Pick up a new hobby. If you’re not sure where to start with self-care, picking up a new hobby is a great way to do so. Journaling, knitting and reading are all hobbies that can help you relax and take some time to yourself. 

Holiday Food Swaps

  1. Grilled or baked foods instead of fried foods. While it may be tempting to reach for fried foods this holiday season, grilled foods contain less saturated fat. If you prefer the crunch of fried foods, try using a recipe that uses the oven or an air fryer instead of frying.
  2. Fresh green beans instead of green bean casserole. Because of the added ingredients in green bean casserole, it’s much higher in sodium, unsaturated fats and sugar. If you miss the crunch of green bean casserole, you can add toasted nuts to your green beans to imitate it.
  3. Hummus instead of other dips. Hummus is high in protein, healthy fats and fiber, making it a terrific choice for a holiday appetizer! Other options like cheese dips and artichoke dips can be much higher in fat, sodium, and calories than hummus.
  4. Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is a great source of magnesium, zinc, copper and phosphorus. Studies have also shown that it can lower your risk of heart disease.
  5. Baked apples instead of apple pie. Baked apples and apple pie share all the same delicious ingredients, apples, cinnamon and brown sugar, while also being lower in carbs, fats and calories.
  6. Red wine instead of other alcoholic drinks. Red wine is much lower in calories than other alcoholic drinks, and it is also full of antioxidants, which can have heart health benefits. Mocktails are also a great way to prioritize your health while enjoying an after-dinner drink.

Our Harbin Clinic providers wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season!

Published December 20, 2022

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