Have Yourself a Healthy Holiday Season.
How to maintain good habits
throughout the Holidays.
By Liza Klassen | December 2021 | Reviewed by Dr. Kelly Clinning ND
Healthy Habits | Lifestyle Change | Heart Health
The holidays are here, and while celebrating can be very exciting, it can also place stress on our heart healthy habits that we have worked so hard to establish. This is a simple guide designed to help you create a plan to keep you on track and make this a healthy holiday season.
First of all, the holidays are meant to be enjoyed. A few cookies, a turkey dinner and a glass or two of wine aren’t going to ‘de-rail’ anything. Consistency is key when it comes to lifestyle change, it’s the decisions you make the most that have the greatest impact on your health. And the great news is that you have the power to choose heart healthy options throughout the holidays.
- Plan Ahead
This is the basis of success, the holidays get busy and before we know it our schedule is full with no time for our healthy habits. Most of your holiday events and obligations are likely already in your calendar, so now it’s time to plan around them. Make sure that you carve out time to plan your meals, schedule in your favourite exercise classes, daily walks and stress management techniques. Having these healthy habits in your schedule helps you prioritize them, especially when things get busy.
- Keep Moving
Hypertension Canada recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity weekly. This translates into just 20 minutes each day of activities like walking, biking, swimming and even dancing! Try encouraging family members to go for a walk with you after dinner, or carve out time first thing in the morning to incorporate your aerobic exercise of choice.
- Fuel Your Body
The holidays are a food-centric time of year. Food is more than just its nutritional value, it’s also celebratory, community building and carries tradition. Here are some ways you can enjoy your holiday favourites while still supporting your cardiovascular health.
- Make sure 50% of your plate is vegetables (and no, potatoes do not count). Choose options like salad, squash/yams, roasted or raw vegetables as the predominant foods on your plate. This helps us achieve appropriate portions; 50% vegetables, 25% protein (turkey, ham, chicken), 25% carbohydrates (this is where your mashed potatoes come in).
- Don’t go to dinners or parties hungry. Fuel your body adequately throughout the day so when it’s time to eat, you can make intentional decisions rather than choosing foods based on cravings or because you’re ‘hangry”.
- Try to stay below 2 grams of salt/day. While you can’t control the salt others put in their dishes, you can control the salt you put on your food. Be mindful.
- Choose heart healthy meal options between your holiday obligations. Use evidence-based dietary patterns for hypertension like the mediterranean diet or DASH diet as a framework for meal-planning.
|Beer or cider
|| 12oz (341mL), 5% alcohol intake
|| 5oz (142mL), 12% alcohol content
|Spirits (rye, gin, rum, vodka)
|| 1.5oz (43mL), 40% distilled alcohol
While it’s okay to occasionally go above these guidelines, it’s important to be cognisant about how much you’re actually consuming. Here are some simple tips for mindful drinking:
- Drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume.
- Pour your own drink, most wine pours are larger than 5oz
- Be mindful of cocktails, they often have at least 2oz of spirits
- Enjoy your drink! Sip mindfully, enjoy the flavours and savour it
- Have a Support System
Lifestyle change is challenging at the best of times and this is amplified during the holiday season. It’s easy to fall back into old patterns when you find yourself in historical situations and relationships. Having a friend or community of people who understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it is important. So find that person or group that can hold you accountable for that daily walk, the extra veggies and a tall glass of water.
We hope these tips will help you make it your healthiest holiday season yet!
PreCardix® Bioactive Marine Peptide Tablets
PreCardix® can be combined with the above lifestyle recommendations and is a great way to kick-start lifestyle change. Every small step helps blood pressure and may also boost energy and confidence to take on more healthy habits.
To learn more about PreCardix®, refer to the product information and directions, and feel free to also share the product monograph with your health care provider.
Always consult with your health care provider before making changes to your blood pressure management plan. PreCardix® does not treat, cure or prevent medical conditions. Measure and monitor blood pressure regularly. Know the signs of heart attack and stroke. Do not take PreCardix® if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have renal artery stenosis, history of angioneurotic edema, or shellfish allergy.