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Central California Life Magazine

Staying healthy and happy for the holidays

Nov 19, 2014 04:22PM ● By Cen Cali Life Magazine

Staying healthy and happy for the holidays

as told to Rachel Taylor

During the holiday season, we all tend to have more anxiety. 

Whether you’re worried about choosing the perfect gift for a loved one or organizing a large family gathering, it’s important to acknowledge that your health comes first.

Because higher amounts of stress may induce overindulgent tendencies, many people tend to gain weight during the holidays and become unhappy with their body.

Let’s break that cycle.

I want you to have a holiday season that’s full of good health and happiness. To do this, you simply need to plan ahead. It only takes a little preparation to see big results.

For example, if you have a holiday party to attend, make a conscious decision beforehand to eat a wholesome meal instead of filling up on appetizers, especially ones that are fried or in creamy sauces. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid appetizers altogether. Healthy options exist. In this column, I will share with you the recipe for one: gluten-free caprese sticks.

To keep yourself from overindulging, another useful strategy is to eat a high-protein snack before you attend an event. It’s best to keep your snacks simple and fresh. Despite being convenient, many protein bars contain high amounts of sugar and carbohydrates. Unless you plan on being physically active, protein bars can be counterproductive – so avoid them unless necessary. Instead, reach for a modest-sized piece of chicken or slice of ham. Both of those meats will provide your body with lean protein and minimal calories.

Additionally, try to avoid holiday drinks. Delicious as they are, they’re also filled with empty calories and sugar. Eggnog is especially high in calories, and some brands contain heavy whipping cream, an ingredient known for its fattening properties. Choose juices such as apple cider or cranberry instead – but be sure to check the nutrition label. Some fruit juices are packed with sugar, too. Choose brands that offer a low-sugar alternative.  

Another way to combat holiday stress and overindulgence is to continue exercising.  Across the Valley, there are many holiday-themed events centered on exercise that you and your family can participate in, such as the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving or walking along Fresno’s iconic Christmas Tree Lane.

Even if your family isn’t fitness-oriented, it never hurts to try something new. Walking is a great introductory exercise for those who don’t work out regularly. And make it fun! Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Dress up, grab some hot apple cider and sing festive songs while you walk. You never know what may become your family’s newest holiday tradition.

At the end of the day, we all have a tendency to beat ourselves up for overeating. Don’t let that happen this holiday season. By following these suggestions, I guarantee you will enjoy yourself instead of feeling unhappy.

Best of luck, and happy holidays!


Gluten-Free Caprese Sticks


--Cherry tomatoes



--Balsamic vinegar or olive oil

--Salt and pepper


--Assemble tomatoes, mozzarella and basil on a skewer or toothpick

--Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or olive oil

--Add salt and pepper